- Airline engineers say it was due to technical faults
- Minister says USD 6 million lost due to flight delays
- Also says cannot give any salary increments due to losses
By Chaturanga Pradeep Samarawickrama
Contradicting recent claims that technical faults in the planes caused recent flight delays, Sri Lankan airlines yesterday revealed that recent delays in several Sri Lanka flights were due to a work-to-rule campaign by some trade unions of Sri Lankan Airlines, a statement said.
This was revealed during a meeting to discuss the recent delays in flights. The meeting was attended by Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, the governing authority of SriLankan Airlines and all trade union representatives, the Aviation Ministry said in a statement following the meeting.
“When the engineers’ union representatives were asked about the recent flight delays, they said that technical faults in the planes had caused these delays. But the SriLankan authorities said that this situation was brought about by the work to rule due to some kind of trade union action,” it stated.
Minister Silva said that employees of Sri Lankan airlines cannot be given any allowance or salary increase at this time, as the airline had suffered a financial loss amounting to about USD 6 million.
“There are about 260 pilots for the 21 aircraft currently in operation. Accordingly, 12 pilots are employed for one aircraft, and it is in accordance with international standards,” the Minister said.
“According to international laws, a pilot should fly 100 hours per month, and according to reports received, a SriLankan pilot has flown about 60 hours per month in the past. If one pilot had flown at least 80 hours per month, such a problem would not have arisen,” the Minister said.
“I have a great responsibility to provide a high-quality air service, but I have decided to protect the rights of SriLankan Airlines and give other airlines the right to operate these flights,” Minister Silva said.
Accordingly, he added that the ‘5th Freedom Right’ will have to be given to other airlines.