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State-owned airline suspends flights to Tamil Nadu

Sri Lankan government-owned airline Mihin Lanka has decided to stop all its operations in Tamil Nadu, cancelling all flights from Colombo to Tiruchi.

The decision comes as state-run airlines Mihin Lanka and SriLankan Airlines posted widening year-on-year losses, earlier this month.

SriLankan airlines, which have received US$100 million of tax payer capital injections to stay afloat over the last 2 years, posted losses of 20.5 billion rupees in 2012.

Mihin Lanka meanwhile lost 1.0 billion rupees in 2012, compared to 455.3 million rupees in 2011.

S K Mittal, executive director of Trans Lanka Air Travels, the Chennai-based general sales agency (GSA) for the airline, stated the decision was made after a steep fall passengers flying to and from Colombo. Mittal stated,

"We have taken a decision to ground the four flights to Colombo because of lack of patronage on this sector".

The airline did operate four flights a week on the Colombo-Tiruchi-Colombo sector. Mittal went on to state that the Chennai office of Mihin Lanka, which was stormed by protestors earlier this year, would also shut down.

Mihin Lanka, thought to be named after the Sanskrit word for ‘Mahinda’,  granted concessions to Buddhist pilgrims travelling to Southern India.

See our earlier posts:

Airline losses due to government entourage flights - UNP (13 June 2012)

Rajapaksa pilots Sri Lanka's airlines (03 May 2012)

Sri Lankan Airlines looks for external sources to stay afloat (03 December 2011)

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