Emirates braces for worst in Sri Lanka air talks

Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva arrives and starts her first day of work at the IMF

Dec 22, 2007 (LBO) – Emirates Airlines, managing shareholder of SriLankan Airlines, has indicated that it is preparing for a possible breakdown in contract renewal talks over an ongoing row where its top manager has been ordered out of the island. The chief executive officer of Sri Lankan airlines, Peter Hill, an Emirates appointee has to leave Sri Lanka by December 26, after his resident visa was revoked by the island’s investment promotion agency.

The issue related to the failure of the airline to accommodate 35 seats in an overbooked flight to a presidential delegation, which was on a private tour in Britain to attend a graduation of President Mahinda Rajapakse’s son.

“This incident is bound to have a bearing on our ongoing negotiations with the Sri Lanka Government with regard to the contract renewal,” Emirates Airlines president Tim Clarke was quoted as saying in Emirates Business magazine.

“That is all I am able to say at this point of time.”

Short flight

An Emirates spokesman said yesterday that Hill would continue to run the airline from Dubai until its 10-year management contract runs out in March 2008.

Emirates has been seeking a 5-year extension with an option for another five years.


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