SriLankan to be privatised as a joint venture


Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva said SriLankan Airlines will be privatised as a joint venture. However, the total management of the company would not be handed over to a foreign country and Sri Lanka would play a part in the management, he said.

The Government is reportedly looking for a joint venture with China’s Hainan Airlines, Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA), or Air India.

Immediately after the appointment, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said SriLankan Airlines should be privatised, as there is no other alternative, having a staggering Rs 360 billion debt so far.

A ministry official told Ceylon Today, having made such humongous losses, no airline will take over management of SriLankan, and hence the Government has encouraged a joint venture or public-private partnership (PPP).

Presently, all SriLankan Airlines planes are on lease and that too will need to be renewed or returned. However, there are no sufficient funds for that.

According to the PM, after the interim budget, steps should be taken towards privatising SriLankan.

Meanwhile, Minister de Silva left for the North to tour the Jaffna International Airport on Saturday (18) and check when the airport can restart operations.

India funded the development of the airport and more funds are expected from India to further develop the airport.

Presently, a few domestic flights arrive in Jaffna, however, there has been a huge delay in resuming international flights.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also inquired when the airport would be operational and said he would visit Jaffna International Airport on his next tour of Sri Lanka.

Minister de Silva recently visited the Mattala International Airport and informed the public that it makes a Rs 100 million loss monthly. He also said the US$ 210 million Chinese loan is still being paid and this airport too would be developed under the public-private partnership.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan


  1. I don’t believe Sri Lankan Airlines are making so much $360 billion per year. If it is correct, it’s better to shut down the Airline and feed the nation. Is it billion or million or in SL Rupees?
    Please correct the amount for the readers.

  2. During the previous previous regime, the then government explored at length the possibilities of privatizing SriLankan Airlines as a joint veture or Public-Private Partnership (PPP)and even appointed an Expert Commitee to to look into it and give a report. At first a bidding process was opened for 49% stake in the national carrier for any International Airline to have a stake in the airline, but no airline came forward. The government made direct communications with Emirates and Qartar Airways to bid but both airlines flatly refused given the background of debt ridden SriLankan Airlines with its heavy unproductive workforce.Thereafter the biddding process was extended to any airline company to apply. Few applied and after a lengthy process of scrutinization, one American Conpany showed interest and that too withdrew after the due diligence was carried out on SriLankan Airlines. Therefore the airline has to be privatized in a systematic manner in order to attract the Investor.
    I have studied and taking into consideration all negative aspects of the airline made a viable Proposal on privatization of airline in a New Model of operation. The Proposal has been sent to the President/Prime Minister and the new Aviation Minister undertaking to give a Presentation to show the viability of the said proposal with no reply or acknowledgement from any of them unfortunately. I hope to hear from them sooner or later.

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