Comprehensive training programs for air pilots, air traffic controllers imperative: Minister | Sri Lanka News

A comprehensive training program should be expedited to train air pilots and air traffic controllers, transport minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said.

While participating in a meeting at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to discuss its future plans for 2023, he said that we cannot afford to pay our pilots the same wages as Qatar Airways, Emirates, or Etihad just because they are quitting the national carrier.

“Those countries have other resources in abundance, such as mineral and crude oil reserves. They have strong economies. “We are not in such a position, to pay them the same salary,” he said.

Therefore, we should prepare for a new process while strengthening our flying training institutes to train more pilots, he said. The activities of these institutes should be made easy and should be part of a long-term process, he said.

“SriLankan Airlines has 23 aircraft. That number alone does not sound enough to cover this requirement. At the moment, new airlines are operating in Sri Lanka. We must extend our maximum possible assistance to these new airlines,” he said.

“I do not support Sri Lankan Airlines' monopoly. These services should be expanded. It is better to have at least 10 more aircraft to facilitate air travel between destinations such as the Maldives, Dubai and Chennai. “If we have airplanes for short distance flying, we can also fulfill this training requirement for pilots and enable them to cover the required number of flying hours,” he said. 

Therefore, the minister requests that private airlines extend their fullest support to us in this endeavour.

We should look into diverse dimensions of new standards and qualifications for professionally training more air traffic controllers. This is not only for the service at home, but also at foreign destinations. I hope to have further discussions on this with relevant stakeholders. We should look toward enhancing training facilities in this discipline, the minister stressed. (Chaturanga Pradeep Samarawickrama)

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