(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the losses incurred due to the delays of eight SriLankan Airline flights in recent days amount to Rs. 1.95 billion (US$ 6 million).
The Minister made this disclosure yesterday (02) when the relevant officials were summoned to inquire about the delays in the flights of SriLankan Airlines from the management and trade unions.
Minister De Silva held a special discussion with the management and trade unions of SriLankan Airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) yesterday at the Ministry to inquire about the inconvenience caused to passengers due to the delay of about eight flights of SriLankan Airlines in the last few days.
Pointing out the losses incurred due to the delays of the SriLankan Airlines flights in recent days is about US$ 6 million, the Minister stated that in such a situation, no allowance or salary increase can be made to the employees at this juncture
In the last few days, passengers were severely inconvenienced due to the simultaneous delay of 08 flights of SriLankan Airlines.
Commenting on this, the representatives of the engineers’ union pointed out that technical faults in the planes caused these delays. But the Civil Aviation Authority said that this situation was brought about by working-to-rule trade union action by some trade unions
After inquiring about this at length from the trade union representatives and the management, the Minister noted that there are about 260 pilots for the 21 aircraft currently in operation, and accordingly, 12 pilots are employed for each aircraft. He also said that it is in accordance with international standards.
According to the international rules and regulations, a pilot should fly for 100 hours per month and according to the reports received, in the past a SriLankan pilot has flown for about 60 hours per month, the Minister noted. He pointed out that if one pilot had flown at least 80 hours per month such issues would not have arisen.
He also said that there is a problem regarding salaries and allowances among these Trade Unions. SriLankan Airlines currently has a debt of US$ 1.2 billion and has to pay the interest for that. In the meantime, he said that since the loss caused by the delays of the flights in the last few days is about US$ 6 million, it is not possible to give any allowance or salary increase to the employees at this time.
However, the Minister emphasized to the Trade Union representatives that if the productivity is increased, some payment can be made based on the productivity.
Minister De Silva added that as the Aviation Minister, he has a great responsibility to provide high-quality service and accordingly, he decided to protect the rights of SriLankan Airlines and give other airlines the right to operate these flights.
Accordingly, he said, the Fifth Freedom Right will have to be given to other airlines to minimize the harassment caused to passengers.
Secretary of the Ministry K.D.S. Ruwanchandra, SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage, Civil Aviation Authority Chairman G.S. Withanage and Director General P.K. Jayakantha participated in this discussion.