Sri Lanka budget airline to fly again

15 Oct, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan budget airline Mihin Lanka’s new chairman says they are trying to re-launch the defunct carrier’s operations by December 2008. Raja Edirisuriya, former chairman of the State Engineering Corporation, Wednesday officially took over the government’s airline operator Mihin Lanka which has been grounded since May.

He says that after the December resurrection, Mihin Lanka would be flying to the Middle Eastern destination of Dubai and South Indian cities of Trichy and Trivandrum.

These are the most heavily used routes by Sri Lankan migrant workers and those who go on pilgrimage or business travel.

Other potential destinations are under high consideration, says Edirisuriya.

Mihin’s flights were grounded earlier this year due to the airline’s inability to pay debts that had mounted up to 15 million dollars.

The airline which began operations with a budget of 500 million rupees in March 2007 was funded mainly through over 2 billion rupees of loans from state banks and a budget allocation of 250 million rupees.

Reports said 3 billion rupees had been requested from the government next year to revive th