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SriLankan-Mihin merger within three months

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The government expects SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka to be merged within three months irrespective of the political climate, Deputy Minister of Civil Aviation Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. The deputy minister was responding to a query posed by The Nation regarding the proposal to merge the two airlines.

“Discussions between the managements of the two airlines are currently ongoing. We expect the merger to happen within three months,” Abeywardena stated, adding that the merger would definitely go ahead.

The two airlines have suffered colossal losses during the past few years. Presenting the new government’s ‘interim budget’ in Parliament on January 29 this year, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake revealed that national carrier SriLankan had suffered losses amounting to Rs.100 billion during the past five years, while budget carrier Mihin had suffered losses amounting to Rs.15 billion. Karunanayake stated it has been proposed to merge the two airlines in order to reduce the losses and improve productivity.
However, the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) had discussed the possibility of amalgamating the two airlines much earlier when officials of Mihin Lanka were summoned before the committee last year. The COPE mentioned the fact in its interim report issued in August, 2014.

The report noted that at the time, the committee directed Mihin Lanka officials to send a report to the committee within two months on the institution’s stand in relation to the amalgamation. Further, it had recommended that the matter be taken up at the Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

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