Sri Lanka budget airline to get six planes

Oct 22, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s loss-making state-owned budget airline, Mihin Lanka, is to buy six aircraft, Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa said. He made the revelation during a debate in parliament on Sri Lankan Airlines, the national carrier, also state-owned, our sister news website, reported.

Rajapaksa did not give further details about the new aircraft for Mihin Lanka, which has been making heavy losses since inception.

The airline was grounded at one time as it did not have aircraft and it is also in arrears in payments for aviation fuel to the state refiner, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation.

Mihin Lanka now operates an Airbus 320 with scheduled flights to Dubai and Kuwait in the Middle East and two Buddhist pilgrimage destinations in India, Buddhagaya and Varanasi, as well as the south Indian city of Tiruchirapalli.

The national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines has also been making losses but has announced new destinations as forward bookings have picked up with the end of Sri Lanka’s 30-year ethnic war.

Sri Lankan opposition lawmakers charged in parliament that Sri Lankan Airlines had been run profitably unde