Srilankan Airlines to lease four new aircraft ahead of privatisation bid

Colombo: Srilankan Airlines is set to lease four new aircraft ahead of the privatisation of the loss-making national carrier, an official said on Tuesday.

The Cabinet on Monday approved the leasing of four Airbus planes to allow Sri Lankan airlines to maintain its route network without disruption, Cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawardena told reporters here.

Gunawardena said the airline will lease two wide-bodied A330-300 aircraft from Aergo Capital of Ireland at a monthly lease of $365,000 each.

He said another two A300-200 jets will be leased from Orix Aviation, also of Ireland, at a monthly lease of $360,000 each.

The airline is among the loss-making state-owned enterprises that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked the cash-strapped island nation to privatise to maintain and implement key economic reforms needed for recovery.

In recent months, the airline has suffered cancellations or rescheduling of its regular flights, causing huge negative publicity.

The government in early March announced the decision to extend the deadline to bid for the control of Srilankan Airlines by 45 more days.

In early January, the Sri Lankan government’s State Owned Enterprises Restructuring Unit had set March 5 as the deadline for proposals to qualified investors to express interest in buying the majority stake.

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