The Sri Lankan Government is set to revive plans to privatize SriLankan Airlines (UL, Colombo Int'l) following a failed attempt last year.

According to Xinhua, Adviser to the Finance Ministry Mano Tittawella told a media conference on Tuesday, August 21, that Ranil Wickremesinghe's administration would renew its search for a strategic investor within the next three months.

Tittawella said the department within the Treasury tasked with Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) would call for Expressions Of Interest in September or October. Thereafter, the state expects to start talks with at least two serious investors by the first quarter of 2019.

"The new board at SriLankan Airlines has now activated a strategic business plan and are confident that by the end of the financial year 2018/2019, the airline can record a significantly lesser loss than what was recorded when the new board took office in April 2018," he said.

The adviser added that there had already been “fairly serious” interest in the sale.

US-based investment firm Texas Pacific Group (TPG) was in talks to acquire a 49% stake in the carrier but pulled out in May last year after a due diligence revealed the true extent of the airline's debts. At the time, they were said to stand at over LKR461 billion Sri Lankan rupees (USD2.87 billion).

Since then, SriLankan Airlines has been surviving off government-backed loans.