Chief Government Whip Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle yesterday told Parliament the establishment of Mihin Air by the Government has enabled Sri Lankans to travel to several countries at 40 per cent below the air fares charged by other airline services.
`At present, Mihin Air has commenced its operations to several destinations from Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA). Therefore as Sri Lankans, we should be proud and happy about the establishment of this airline serviced by the Government,` the Minister said.
Responding to an oral question raised by JVP MP Anura Dissanayake whether the Government has transformed money belonging to Lankaputhra Development Bank to Mihin Air, Fernandopulle said Mihin Air is the only airline owned by the Government.
Mihin Air has started flight operations to Dubai, India, the Maldives and Bangkok compared with other airline services charges of Mihin Air is 40 per cent less than the other airline services, the Minister said.
UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella questioned whether the Government has obtained Parliament approval to set up Mihin Air.
Fernandopulle said there is no need to obtain Parliament approval to set up airline services like Mihin Air.
The UNP is attempting to sabotage the country`s development process, he said. Dissanayake said in a situation where the Government is able to vest within it the country`s largest airline, SriLankan Airlines, why did it have to establish another airline service.
Nearly 43 per cent shares of SriLankan Airlines is owned by Emirates while the entire company is managed by Emirates.
The contract between `SriLankan` and Emirates will expire shortly. Therefore the Government should have taken steps to takeover SriLankan Airlines without forming another airline service.