Programme will be set up to train aircraft pilots, air traffic controllers - Minister | Daily News

Programme will be set up to train aircraft pilots, air traffic controllers - Minister

Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that a comprehensive programme will be implemented to train pilots and air traffic controllers at a recent meeting at the Civil Aviation Authority.

“We cannot afford to pay our retiring pilots same wages as Qatar Airways, Emirates or Etihad Airways. These countries have other resources such as mineral and crude oil reserves. They have strong economies. We are not in such a position to pay them the same salary. So, we should prepare for a new process. We should strengthen our flying training institutes to train more pilots. The activities of these institutes should be made easy, because this should be a part of a long term process,” the Minister said.

He also said that the relevant training programmes should be expedited. “Seeking means to fulfill the required number of flying hours for pilots is our main challenge. Sri Lankan Airlines has 23 aircraft. However, that is not enough to cover the requirement. There are new airlines in Sri Lanka at present. We must extend our maximum possible assistance to these new airlines.

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

“I request Private airlines to extend us their fullest support in this endeavour. The challenge number two against us is the controversy that Air Traffic Controllers are leaving the country. We should look into diverse dimensions of new standards and qualifications on training more Air traffic Controllers. This is not only for the service at home but also at foreign destinations. I will have further discussions on this with relevant stakeholders. We should look towards enhancing training facilities on this discipline,” the Minister said.

“We also maintain an excellent track record on aircraft engineering. We must be grateful of the Sri Lankan Airlines for the competence and potential of our aircraft engineers. We have a number of very profound and internationally recognised training programmes. We should further develop these training schedules. Therefore, we should expand and develop the course service of the Civil Aviation Authority to have sustainable progress in this field in future,” the Minister added.


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