SriLankan Airlines Wants Emirates, Air India to Buy them After First Profit in 15 Years
According to CEO Richard Nuttall, SriLankan Airlines (UL), poised for privatization and having achieved an operating profit for the first time in 15 years, could become an attractive acquisition target for Gulf-based airlines such as Emirates (EK) and Indian Carrier Air India (AI).
He emphasized that India is a significant market with great potential for expansion, presenting an appealing prospect for all interested parties.
Emirates held partial ownership of SriLankan Airlines for a decade until the Sri Lankan government acquired all the airline’s shares in 2008. During that year, SriLankan reported a profit of approximately $30 million.
When questioned about the potential involvement of Dubai-based Emirates in the bidding process, Mr. Nuttall clarified that he could not speculate on the intentions of Emirates or other entities from the Gulf.
SriLankan Airlines has faced a triple blow due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the coordinated Easter suicide bombings in 2019 by Isis, and the financial disruptions experienced last year.
He explained, “With a turnover of $1 billion, the business generated a profit of $100 million. However, a major portion of this profit had to be allocated to cover finance charges.” He further emphasized the airline’s operational efficiency, expressing optimism that it will eventually become a profitable venture.