SriLankan Airlines will seek to merge with IAG – parent to British Airways and Iberia – or one of its other future Oneworld partners after joining the airline alliance next year.
Asked what his preferred partner for a merger would be, SriLankan's chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe says "first preference would be Oneworld definitely" with IAG top of the list.
Wickremasinghe says a partnership would be created "in [a] time to come, not now" and would follow SriLankan joining the Oneworld alliance early in 2014.
"That is the way forward with any business in the world... Synergies for each party are brought about in these situations. The world is growing, challenges are increasing, [and] the cost of money is very high today," he says.
"So people are working out synergies between two or three partners, and that is the way forward."
Wickremasinghe says foreign-ownership rules would not bar a merger providing "management continue to hold a majority stake".