Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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SriLankan Airlines hit by engineers and pilots exodus in economic crisis

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): In recent times, the skies above SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, have become clouded with concerns expressed by engineers, pilots and their unions.

According to the Airline Pilots’ Guild of Sri Lanka (ALPGSL) a staggering shift of almost 70 pilots to rival airlines underscores the gravity of the situation.

An official representing the ALPGSL union said that approximately 12 pilots have submitted resignations and opted to fulfill their obligatory three-month notice periods.

Meanwhile overseas demand results in 25% reduction of Srilankan Airlines aircraft engineers.

The Association of Srilankan Airlines Licensed Aircraft Engineers (ALAE) revealed that an unprecedented demand for skilled professionals from Sri Lanka abroad, resulting in a significant exodus from ALAE’S workforce.

This exodus has led to a 25% reduction in ALAE’S workforce in recent months, and the association anticipates further turnover of engineers due to the ongoing global demand.

The ALAE has called on the stakeholders involved in the management of the national carrier to collaborate on a workable retention plan.

“It was essential to address the current exodus of skilled professionals to ensure providing top-notch aircraft maintenance and safety for Srilankan Airlines passengers,” the ALAE said in a statement.

“The current surge in global travel has created an unprecedented demand for our skilled professionals, resulting in advantageous job opportunities abroad. Regrettably, this has led to a significant exodus from our community.

The ALAE has experienced a 25% reduction in its workforce in recent months and anticipates a further turnover of engineers with the current global demand.this is creating a massive shortage of Licensed Aircraft Engineers needed to run the increasing operations of Srilankan Airlines.”

“In the event of skilled and experienced engineer shortage, we will witness that the company will have to send some of our aircraft to external Maintenance and Repair Organizations (MROS) for major technical checks, which we have been performing in-house up to now.

This will result in millions of dollars moving out of the country as payment for those MROS, when we are already facing a dollar crisis” . Further to that, we have no assurance that they will deliver the same 7-star safety standards like we do.

Meanwhile pilots of SriLankan have raised alarm bells about a series of issues that are not only impacting job satisfaction, but also potentially compromises on the safety of flights.

Pilots complain that this mass exodus has placed existing pilots under immense pressure, with extended working hours becoming the norm.

We are stressed due to heavy workloads. Hiring foreign pilots is not an option for SriLankan due to high costs. As they don’t hire new pilots, the ones who are working now are working around the clock. – An ALPGSL representative said.

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