COLOMBO, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government has successfully negotiated a long-term credit package of 200 million U.S. dollars with the Credit Suisse Bank in order to keep its debt-ridden national airline afloat, local media reported Wednesday.
The cabinet which met earlier this week has approved to obtain the funds. State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeyardena said that out of the 200 million dollars, 50 million dollars was obtained as a short term loan facility.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said last year that Sri Lanka's national carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines, had been facing a massive debt of 3 billion dollars and was a "landmine" for the country's economy.
Wickremesinghe blamed the previous administration for mismanaging the national airline which led to colossal losses.
He said the government was in search of an international investor to manage the airline on a Public and Private partnership.
However, with this loan, Yapa said, it was expected to strengthen the government's guarantee for the ongoing discussions with several investors to run SriLankan Airlines.
Yapa said the government did not intend to liquidate the national carrier under any circumstances but the massive debts stood as an obstacle to the successful conclusion of negotiations with private investors.
The Sri Lankan government, led by President Maithripala Sirisena after being elected to office in 2015, ordered a criminal investigation into alleged corruption at the national airline during the previous regime, saying it involved "billions of dollars".
As a result of its mounting debts, Sri Lankan Airlines suspended its flights to Paris and Frankfurt from October and November last year, stating that the government had made it clear that it will no longer fund continuing losses.