Why does Sri Lanka need a national airline when India doesn’t have one?: Prof. Rohan Samarajiva

Amidst a whopping amount of losses national carrier SriLankan Airlines has been making for years, LIRNEasia Founding Chair and Advocata Institute Advisor Prof. Rohan Samarajiva questioned why Sri Lanka would need a national carrier when India, the neighbour, does not have one. 

During a press briefing organised by Advocata Institute on “The Urgency of State Owned Enterprise Reforms”, Prof. Samarajiva stated that SriLankan Airlines should be privatised to not only save public money, but to also improve the credibility of the country by showing the country’s creditors that Sri Lanka is genuinely committed to meeting its debt payments. 

Prof. Samarajiva pointed to the fact that Sri Lankan is hemorrhaging around Rs. 47 billion in losses per annum and questioned the rationality of using public funds collected through commodity taxes from a person who has never even gone near the airport. 

Explaining further, he stated that when the Government reduced taxes in 2019, rating agencies downgraded Sri Lanka as it gave the impression that the country has no genuine intention of meeting its payments immediately after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country. Due to this situation, our debt situation has reached a critically dangerous state which requires us to restructure our debt, according to Prof. Samarajiva.

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