Sri Lanka to restructure national airline

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Colombo, April 7 (IANS) The Sri Lankan government on Thursday announced that it will restructure its national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, which faces a debt of nearly $1 billion.

Minister of Finance Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that although the government would not privatize the national carrier, it would be restructured to halt the staggering losses.

“The debt is nearly $1 billion. It cannot continue like this,” he said.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe recently said in parliament said that the airline was unable to pay the debt and the government would soon decide whether to take over its liabilities.

State Enterprises Development Minister Kabir Hashim earlier this year said that the carrier was making losses on its long-haul routes.

Wickremesinghe, soon after being sworn to power last year, ordered a criminal investigation into alleged corruption in the airline, saying that it involved “billions of dollars”.

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