As part of its new "Red-To-Black" restructuring programme, SriLankan Airlines (UL, Colombo Int'l) will dramatically curtail its European operations while dropping plans to start flights to Melbourne Tullamarine next year.

An airline official who spoke to Sri Lanka's Sunday Leader newspaper on condition of anonymity said that of the carrier's European routes, Frankfurt Int'l, Paris CDG, and Rome Fiumicino would be dropped owing to their unprofitability while London Heathrow would be retained given the cost and difficulty in securing slots there.

Additionally, SriLankan's much vaunted return to Australasia will also be postponed in favour of greater emphasis on Indian and Chinese operations where the airline has seen solid gains.

Unofficial figures quoted in the country's press claim the carrier has cost tax payers up to LKR131 billion (USD916 million) in accrued annual losses over the past six years.

Having previously favoured a merger between SriLankan Airlines and LCC Mihin Lanka (MJ, Colombo Int'l), Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake said in his 2016 budget consultations that he now prefers to retain each as separate, distinct entities. Mihin, he said, would focus on domestic operations while continuing to ply a select number of international routes.