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Won’t be able to offer SriLankan to investors even for free – Minister

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Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday (26) spoke firmly on the national carrier – SriLankan Airlines, stating that the airline’s disruptive employees and tarnished reputation would deter potential buyers in the privatisation process.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday, he said  “We cannot run an airline with disruptive employees. This is a critical moment for SriLankan Airlines. We cannot afford to entertain employees who fail to handle situations under pressure.”

“The deadline for the Expressions of Interest (EOIs) is set for 5 March and in the present scenario, according to the information I received some of the bidders want to withdraw. With the negative reputation plaguing the airline, we will not be in a position to offer it free-of-charge even,” the minister claimed.

However, SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage’s views had contrasted starkly with that of Minister de Silva.

The discussion saw a disagreement regarding ground handling. Minister De Silva advocated for immediate privatization of the service, citing shortcomings. Chairman Pathirage, while acknowledging areas for improvement, argued that the lack of aircraft, not ground handling, was the primary issue. He blamed lengthy government procurement procedures for hindering fleet acquisition.

De Silva justified his push for privatization by citing the airline’s struggles and reports of potential bidders withdrawing their interest. While not inherently opposed to privatization, Pathirage emphasized the ongoing process and the lack of control the airline has in the decision.

Meanwhile, trade union representatives commended Pathirage for his leadership whilst blaming political interventions and its past management. 

“We all undoubtedly praise the Chairman for his leadership and unwavering commitment to operate this airline amidst all odds. Neither the employees nor the current management of the SriLankan Airlines are responsible for the cancellations and bad reputation, but the political intervention,” they stated.

They also slammed the former COPE Chairmen and MPs Dr. Harsha de Silva and Dr. Charitha Herath for disrupting the lease procedure of the airline when the aircraft were at a lower price. “They are responsible for all the operational delays the airline is facing at present,” they claimed.

(Excerpts : DailyFT)

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SriLankan Airlines online booking services, restored

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SriLankan Airlines has announced in a statement that its internet booking services have been fully restored as of 08:30 GMT (14:00 local time in Sri Lanka), following a global outage of third-party service providers that affected the airline’s online booking services. 

Apologizing to any inconvenience caused, the airline urges customers to contact their Global Contact Centre at +94 19733 1979 for any further assistance with existing or new bookings.

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Govt. terminates bidding process for SriLankan Airlines

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The Cabinet at a July 9th meeting has decided to terminate the current bidding process for the divestiture of national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines, a State Owned Enterprises Restructuring Unit statement has said.

The statement further adds that instead, “alternate strategy to be decided shortly, to divest the airline base on a framework approved by Cabinet of Ministers”.
Colombo called for bids in September to sell SriLankan Airlines, a key IMF demand when granting a bailout loan to the country last year.

Six firms had initially expressed interest in taking a stake in the airline, which owed more than $2.0 billion at the end of the 2022/2023 financial year.

The government announced in April a shortlist of three potential investors, including Malaysia’s Air Asia.

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Barriers to export of SL agri products to China, removed

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The Chinese government has removed the long-standing barriers to the export of chicken and eggs produced in this country as well as pineapples to China.

Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries Mr. Mahinda Amaraweera said that this agreement was expressed during the discussion with the delegation including Mr. Wang Lingjung, Deputy Minister of General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China who recently visited Sri Lanka.

Accordingly, Sri Lankan pineapple cultivators and exporters as well as poultry product manufacturers have been allowed to export as much poultry meat and eggs as well as pineapples to the Chinese market.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Plantation Industries had to do a lot of work to remove the obstacles that existed in our country to export these agricultural products to the Chinese market. A number of methods had to be completed in order to confirm the quality of poultry products in the country’s market, especially the way pineapple is grown in our country.

The Minister also said that due to the commitment made by the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Plantation Industries, the effort to get market opportunities from China has been successful for our country.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industry Mr. Mahinda Amaraweera said that the Chinese Deputy Minister assured that the Chinese government will work to expand China’s market opportunities to Sri Lanka in order to export whatever high quality agricultural products are in Sri Lanka.

(dailynews.lk)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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