National carrier seeks strategic partner under restructuring plan | Sunday Observer

National carrier seeks strategic partner under restructuring plan

Following the Cabinet approval granted to the ‘SriLankan Airlines restructuring plan’ prepared by the committee headed by State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne, the government is seeking a strategic partner to invest in a 49 percent stake in the airline, the Sunday Observer learns.

State Minister Wickramaratne told the Sunday Observer yesterday that investment banks will commence finding a partner for the national carrier. “The President submitted the restructuring plan to the Cabinet last week and it has been approved. Now we have to implement its recommendations. However, it will take several months to put things in place,” he said.

The national carrier which incurred losses since 2009 recorded a loss of US$ 185 million last year. However, certain businesses of the airline such as ground handling had recorded profits, said the State Minister.

“We presented two broad parameters through the report. One is about the independent Board of Directors (BOD) and the other is about the ownership perspective of the airline. The BOD have to carry out the day-to-day operations adhering to the business plan of the company. The airline cannot depend on State funding alone.The tax payers of the country are shareholders of the airline. We cannot let them bleed more. That is the main reason why we came up with a 51-49 percent partnership model” the State Minister said.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the SriLankan Airlines and former Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, G.S. Vithanage told the Sunday Observer that the BOD has not received instructions under the restructuring plan yet.