Delayed Flight

May 16 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan government is to hold a fresh round of talks with Emirates Airlines next month, on extending the management contract with SriLankan Airlines.

The two sides are yet to set a date and detailed agenda for talks.

Preliminary discussions on the way forward were cordial, though the meeting was not on specific items,” Chandana de Silva, Head of Corporate Communications at SriLankan Airlines told LBO on Tuesday.

A follow up round of talks will most likely be held in June.”

Dubai based Emirates picked up a 40 percent management stake in national carrier SriLankan Airlines, formerly Air Lanka, in March 1998, for 4.9 billion rupees.

Emirates has since upped its stake in SriLankan to 43.6 percent, buying up a few shares allotted to the national carrier’s employees during its privatisation.

Dubai’s Emirates have been keen to extend the ten year agreement, which expires in 2008 and includes privileges such as exclusive rights to ground handling and catering at the Bandaranaike International Airport.

The deal signed in 1998 also included a monopoly on international routes that ended two years ago, allowing