Off the wire
Yearender-Economic Watch: 4 reasons why RMB stood tall in 2017  • Top news items in Ethiopia's major media outlets  • Sri Lankan leaders wish for greater economic prosperity, reconciliation in New Year  • Top news items in major S. African media outlets  • 1st LD: Two killed in suspected Boko Haram attack in Cameroon  • Urgent: Two killed in suspected Boko Haram attacks in Cameroon  • Xinhua world news summary at 0830 GMT, Dec. 31  • 1st LD-Writethru: 2 protesters killed in western Iran  • 20 IS suspects captured in Istanbul  • China Focus: Beginning of the end: ivory trade finished in China  
You are here:  

Poll reveals majority of Sri Lankans against selling debt-ridden national airline

Xinhua,December 31, 2017 Adjust font size:

COLOMBO, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- A year-end poll conducted in Sri Lanka has shown that a majority of people in the island nation are not in favor of selling the island's debt-ridden national airline carrier, local media reported Sunday.

The poll, conducted by the Business Times newspaper along with polling partner Second Curve, revealed that over 47 percent voted 'No' in the outright sale of Sri Lankan Airlines, mainly due to the developments during the past 20 months.

The poll, conducted in capital Colombo and the southern coastal district of Galle, showed that 29 percent said 'Yes' and 24 percent were undecided.

The 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-U.S. dollar debt.

Wickremesinghe said the government was in search of an international investor to manage the airline on a Public and Private partnership.

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. Enditem