South Asia

‘Who bought these nuts?’: airline removes cashews after Sri Lankan president complains

Maithripala Sirisena said the nuts, which were only served in business class, were so bad ‘even a dog wouldn’t eat it’

Agence France-Presse UPDATED :

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Sri Lanka’s national airline said on Wednesday it has stopped serving cashews after the country’s president flew into a rage over nuts served to him on a flight to Colombo.

“Returning from Kathmandu, I was served some cashews on board a SriLankan flight, but it was so bad even a dog wouldn’t eat it,” Maithripala Sirisena said on Monday.

“I want to know who authorised the purchase of these nuts,” the president told a meeting of farmers.

Some cashew nuts. Photo: Shutterstock

An airline spokesman said it has responded by clearing its stock of cashews – only served in business class – and would change its Dubai-based supplier.

This is not the first time that airline nuts have prompted outrage.

In 2014 a South Korean heiress famously ordered a Korean Air plane back to its gate to eject a cabin crew member after she was served nuts still in their packet.

Korean Air ‘nut rage’ sister Cho Hyun-min says sorry after ‘juice rage’ incident

Last month Colombo renewed its search for an equity investor in the loss-making and heavily indebted SriLankan after the International Monetary Fund warned that the airline was dragging the country’s economy down.

In May last year, attempts to privatise the carrier collapsed after a US private equity firm withdrew its bid for a 49-per cent stake.

A SriLankan Airlines Airbus A340-311. Photo: Handout

The airline was profitable until former president Mahinda Rajapakse cancelled a management agreement with Emirates in 2008 following a personal dispute. The carrier had refused to bump fare-paying passengers and give their seats to Rajapakse’s family.

Rajapakse removed the Emirates-appointed chief executive of Sri Lankan and made his brother-in-law Nishantha Wickremasinghe head of the company.

Wickremasinghe is now under investigation for corruption and mismanagement.

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