Aviation Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka authorities postpone proposed airlines lease amid criticism

Sri Lanka’s Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has instructed the national carrier SriLankan Airlines to delay its procurement process to lease up to 21 aircraft by three months.

A plan by Sri Lanka’s state-owned national airline to lease nearly two dozen aircraft had sparked public criticism and opposition condemnation as the country struggles with its worst financial crisis in decades.

The COPE Chairman had also recommended that procurement guidelines be prepared, and the respective procurement process is tabled at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers via the respective Cabinet Minister for approval.

SriLankan said it had 24 aircraft and the number is expected to drop in the future, and since aircraft cannot be procured immediately, the necessary process was adopted.

Chairman of SriLankan Airlines Ashok Pathirage had informed COPE that considering the market factors the process would take approximately 6 to 12 months to complete, and it would be carried out transparently via the ministry.

Sri Lanka is struggling with low reserves that have declined more than 70% over the past two years to $1.93 billion at the end of March.

The dollar crunch has caused acute shortages of fuel, food and medicines, with rolling power cuts for hours a day for more than a month.

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