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News  


 

SriLankan pilot crisis solved by chairman

The national carrier, which hit rock bottom last week with an unprecedented half a dozen flight cancellations in a peace time, has been brought to its senses with its chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe directly intervening and winning the co-operation of pilots to come out of the problem.

SriLankan sources said yesterday that in order to get over the immediate problem of shortage of pilots, which had been aggravated by the carrier blindly adding new aircraft and destinations, pilots have agreed with immediate effect to increase their flying time from 900 hours per year to 1000 per year, which is the maximum permitted by international air navigation rules.

At a meeting Wickramasinghe held with pilots, the latter had agreed to implement the measure verbally pending the signing of a new agreement.
The talks with the Pilots Guild took place on Tuesday at the SriLankan Cargo Office at De Vos Avenue, Duplication Road

As most pilots had almost exhausted the 900-hour earlier flying limit the airline was being automatically grounded and because of the sudden cancellations without giving adequate prior notice the airline was even liable to be fined as much as 600 Euros per passenger under existing EU rules.
Sources said unlike some other management pundits in the airline, the chairman had thoroughly studied the subject prior to Tuesday’s meeting and had offered a higher package to pilots to attract especially new Captains to the carrier.

The problem is so serious despite the pilots agreeing to fly additional hundred hours, Wickramasinghe has also agreed to recruit at least 30 more pilots on an urgent basis as otherwise the existing pilots will not be able to utilise their leave.
The Nation learns that at least six pilots from the Greek Olympic Airways, which shut down recently, will now join the national carrier.
A few more Greek pilots had applied to join the carrier, but had failed to pass the English test and English spoken by them was all ‘Greek to our pilots’.