Colombo, Dec 31 (newsin.asia) – A year end public poll conducted in Sri Lanka has shown that a majority of locals are not in favour of selling the island’s debt ridden national airline carrier, a local media reported Sunday.
In the poll, conducted by the local Sunday Times newspaper along with polling partner Second Curve, it reveals that a majority of the public were strongly opposed to selling Sri Lankan Airlines, mainly due to the developments during the past 20 months.
The poll was conducted in capital Colombo and the southern coastal district of Galle and an over all 47 percent voted ‘No’ in the outright sale of Sri Lankan airlines while 29 percent said ‘Yes’ and 24 percent were ‘U’ (undecided).
Sri Lankan Airlines has been mounted with massive debts in recent years with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announcing in April last year that the Airline was a ‘landmine’ for the country’s economy with a 3 billion dollar debt.
Wickremesinghe blamed the previous administration for mismanaging the national airline which led to colossal losses.
He said the government was in search of an international investor to manage the airline on a Public and Private partnership.
Just last week, the Sri Lankan government said it had successfully negotiated a long-term credit package of 200 million U.S. dollars with the Credit Suisse Bank in order to keep the national airline afloat.
State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeyardena said that out of the 200 million dollars, 50 million dollars was obtained as a short term loan facility.
The Sri Lankan government, led by President Maithripala Sirisena after being elected to office in 2015, ordered a criminal investigation into alleged corruption at the national airline during the previous regime, saying it involved “billions of dollars”.
As a result of its mounting debts, Sri Lankan Airlines suspended its flights to Paris and Frankfurt from October and November last year, stating that the government had made it clear that it will no longer fund continuing losses.