The President of Sri Lanka has launched a tirade against the country's national airline over the quality of nuts he was served as an in-flight snack, reports.

In an extraordinary outburst, President Maithripala Sirisena complained he was served second-rate cashews on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight from Kathmandu, Nepal to Colombo, Sri Lanka last week.

The BBC reported Mr Sirisena launched his tirade while speaking at a farmers' event in southern Sri Lanka on Monday.

"When I returned from Nepal, they served some cashew nuts on the plane [that], let alone humans, even dogs can't eat," he told the farmers, according to the BBC.


"Who approves these things? Who approved the cashew? Who is responsible for this?"

It was unclear what about the offending cashews angered the leader. Sri Lankan Airlines is yet to comment on his outburst.But it's another mark against the beleaguered national airline, which is about $1.4 billion in debt and has been on the hunt for a new equity partner amid warnings it was dragging down Sri Lanka's economy.

A potential United States partner withdrew in May last year, prompting the government to call for fresh expressions of interest to save the struggling carrier.

Sri Lankan Airlines has also been dealt accusations of corruption and currently being investigated by a special presidential commission of inquiry.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. Photo / Getty Images
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. Photo / Getty Images

But Mr Sirisena's outburst about cashews is not the first time a high-profile passenger has had a nut-rage meltdown.

Korean Air executive Cho Hyun-ah, who is also the daughter of the airline's chairman, famously threw a mid-air tantrum in 2014 when she was served macadamia nuts in a packet instead of a bowl.

The incident happened on a Korean Air flight from New York to Seoul while Ms Cho was vice president of in-flight service.

Sri Lankan Airlines is operating at a loss. Photo / Getty Images
Sri Lankan Airlines is operating at a loss. Photo / Getty Images

She demanded the plane return to the gate at New York's JFK airport so the flight attendant who served her the nuts could be kicked off the plane.


She was also accused of physically assaulting the chief steward, who said she made him kneel and beg for forgiveness while she jabbed him with a service manual.

Ms Cho spent three months in prison following the "nut scandal" incident that made headlines around the world.

She, along with her sister Emily, who was the airline's senior vice president, were sacked from their positions this year, with their father Cho Yang-ho publicly apologising to "all Koreans" for his daughters' bratty behaviour.