Responding to allegations leveled against the government by former MP Wimal Weerawansa, former Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs Dr. Harsha De Silva said that there were no plans of privatizing the national carrier ‘SriLankan Airlines’.
“These allegations make no sense, there are no such plans to privatize SriLankan Airlines.” Dr. De Silva said. Asked if there was a special restructuring program for SriLankan Airlines already underway as Weerawansa alleged, he reiterated that privatization, retrenchment are only politically motivated slogans and such claims were false and baseless.
However, sources at the Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that they have identified some restructuring proposals and those will come into effect after elections. They assured that there are no plans for privatization or retrenchment of employees.
Weerawansa told the media last Tuesday (August 11) that the present UNP government had already made proposals to sell the national carrier to foreign entities, designating funds for engineering services, ground operations and training division. According to Weerawansa such a privatization program would reduce 40-50 percent of employees at SriLankan Airlines, more specifically adding that 2,700 direct jobs were in danger.
SriLankan Airlines was repossessed from the Dubai based Emirates group in 2008 under a deal struck by the Rajapaksa government.