No investor has so far come forward in response to government plans to privatize the debt-ridden SriLankan Airlines.

Government sources said this has prompted a new plan by the finance ministry for the national carrier to go public with assistance from the World Bank.

SriLankan owes Rs. 316,570 million to state banks, the CPC and other service providers.

It has a 5,600-strong permanent staff, in addition to 500 contract and casual workers.

Some of its departments have a surplus of employees, including 300 managers, while there is a shortage of manpower in certain categories.

In the past three years, 50 pilots had left service with 22 in arrears to meet a requirement of 290.

All of its fleet of 24 aircraft has been obtained on lease, and six of them have been taken out of service due to a non-availability of engines and other spare-parts.

Srilankan has to pay around 700,000 US dollars a month per leased aircraft.

Two aircraft in use for 23 years had been returned.

A voluntary retirement scheme introduced during the coronavirus pandemic has not addressed the surplus segment of employees.

Meanwhile, aviation minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the carrier will continue with foreign pilots even if all the local pilots leave service.

Speaking to the media, he also said the chosen investor will have the freedom to take administrative decisions during the restructuring.


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