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Sri Lanka weighs Open Skies amidst plans for national carrier privatization

24 Apr 2024 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

By Kelum Bandara  
Sri Lanka is in a dilemma to decide whether to adopt an open skies policy or not in the event of divestiture of shares of the national carrier ‘SriLankan Airlines’, a top official said .   An Open Skies policy means liberalization and ease of access and rules of use of national airports for foreign airlines. It is joined in order to increase the tourist flow and to develop the potential as a regional air hub.   

The government has now called for bids to privatize or restructure the national career.   
The government, acting through the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies called for Request for Qualification (RfQ) from potential investors for the acquisition of shares in SriLankan Airlines Limited. The deadline for submission of proposals ended at 2pm on Monday, April 22, 2024.   
 The RfQs received were considered by the Opening Committee appointed by the Special Cabinet Appointed Negotiating Committee. 6 RfQs were received from the following parties: 1. AirAsia Consulting Sdn. Bhd. 2. Dharshaan Elite Investment Holding (Pvt) Ltd 3. FITS Aviation (Private) Limited 4. Sherisha Technologies Private Limited 5. Treasure Republic Guardians Limited 6. Hayleys PLC   

In the event of adoption of an open skies policy, the concept of national career will not be important since the country will be open for global airlines to operate based on economic, commercial conditions.   
However, the availability of a national career is important to serve people when other airlines don’t operate given unattractive commercial conditions .   
Asked whether the government will go for an open skies policy, a top official said it is yet to be decided .   
“There are pluses and minuses of such a policy. We have to weigh the pros and cons. We are yet to decide on it,” he said.