ECONOMYNEXT- Pilots of state-run SriLankan Airlines are leaving the country as doctors are leaving the country for higher salaries Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said.
SriLankan Airline does not have extra pilots to put on standby in case pilots assigned for a flight is indisposed, he said.
“They get the training from us, get our flying hours and they leave for higher salaries,” Minister de Silva told parliament on June 22.
“They are just like doctors.”
Sri Lanka has seen a spate of specialist doctors leaving the country following an economic crisis triggered by the central bank to printing large volumes of money to artificially keep down a centrally planned interest rate structure..
The 2022 currency crisis is the worst in the history of the island’s Latin America style central bank set up in 1950, abolishing a consisted fixed exchange rate without a policy rate.
There have been calls to tighten laws to build an East Asian style central bank with laws to limit open market operations, and stabilize the exchange rate.
But there is strong support for depreciating currencies the country’s mainstream economists in unstable countries, generally known as a ‘status quo bias’, according to critics.
Many salaried workers were also leaving after income taxes were hiked.
Minister de Silva was responding to questions after a flight to Korea was cancelled due to a pilot falling sick.
There were 20 pilots on their off days, but no one came forward to fill the vacancy, as they had done in the past, Minister de Silva said.
“We do not have pilots to leave on standby,” he said.
Legislator Dayasiri Jayatilleke said there was work to rule style trade union activity due to demands by staff not being given by the management.
Minister de Silva said there some problems between the airline’s management and trade unions.
Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa claimed on June 24, that 70 pilots had left SriLankan in the last six months.
“SriLankan now has 260 pilots,” Premadasa told parliament. “Another 18 pilots are due to leave for Emirates this year.
“Sri Lanka need 330 pilots but only as 260a at the moment.”
There was no immediate comment from Minister de Silva. However part of SriLankan’s fleet is grounded pending engine repairs. (Colombo/June23/2023)