The Sri Lankan government will keep SriLankan Airlines (UL, Colombo Int'l) afloat despite the chronic losses suffered by the flag carrier but hopes to see it return to profitability within three years, Minister of Public Enterprise Lakshman Kiriella has been reported as saying by Lanka Business Online.

"I have advised the new management to see that the airline’s income and expenditure is on an even keel within the next three years. There is a lot of focus on the national carrier and I wish to state that the government has no intention of closing down the airline," Kiriella has said.

However, he has added that the state cannot afford to further subsidise the airline. Currently, SriLankan Airlines and other loss making state owned entities together receive as much as a LKR465 billion rupee (USD2.9 billion) handout from the central budget per annum.

According to the ch-aviation airlines module, the carrier posted a LKR28 billion net loss in 2016. As of March 31, 2017, the carrier had LKR90.3 billion in accumulated debt, although since then the amount is likely to have grown to more than LKR100 billion.