By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW): Chair of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Energy & Transport, MP Nalaka Bandara Kottegoa, has requested that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) conduct a probe into the frequent delays in flights observed recently.
Kottegoda recommended that the matter be probed in the context of whether there exists an organised scheme, deliberately causing delays in flight in a bid to hamper Sri Lankas rising tourist economy.
Kottegoda discussed the matter at a meeting of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Energy & Transport held in parliament on Wednesday (04 Oct.).
He highlighted that the constant delay in flights is concerning, especially at a time where Sri Lanka is seeing a peak Ii nth number of tourist arrival, despite various challenged including the economic crisis.
Officials representing the CAA present at the meeting explained that such an occurrence may be likely, given the fact that there are many trade unions within the ambit of SriLankan Airlines,
Thus, Kottegoda urged for all relevant parties to work towards resolving the matter, emphasising that they should not leave room for the matter to escalate further.
Meanwhile the Government is to scrap the monopoly given to SriLankan Airlines for flights operating between Colombo and some international destinations.
Minister of Ports and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva disclosed that he had a discussion with international airline operators and requested them to expand operations between Colombo and global destinations.
He said that he offered airlines to operate direct flights to destinations from Colombo earlier granted only to SriLankan Airlines.
The Minister said the offer was made to ensure tourism was not affected by the crisis at SriLankan Airlines.
Sri Lanka’s flag carrier, SriLankan Airlines, is responding to recent allegations of poor working conditions, long flight delays, and cancellations. The Airline Pilot’s Guild of Sri Lanka (ALPGSL) slammed the carrier’s management team on Sunday, calling on them to address the concerns.
The association also highlighted that the pilots it represents have been depleted due to low staffing numbers, but SriLankan indicated that it has enough crew to operate its scheduled flights.
Additionally, the airline noted that less than 60 pilots have resigned compared to Guild’s claim of 70 resignations.
In a statement, SriLankan said it has been operating with a smaller fleet amid the Guild’s concerns.
“SriLankan Airlines has been managing with a reduced fleet of 15 as opposed to the intended 18 aircraft over the last two months, which has unfortunately impacted the airline’s flight schedule and on-time performance. The good news is that this situation is expected to ease off by mid-July 2023.”
While not responding directly to the problems outlined by the ALPGSL, the carrier explained that it forecasted a shortage of aircraft, but “several unforeseen events,” such as annual ‘C’ checks on aircraft and engine supply scarcities, ultimately exacerbated the situation.
The completion of the checks has been prolonged “due to the unavailability of components locally,” while engines for its Airbus A320neo aircraft have been in short supply around the globe, reportedly grounding over 300 aircraft.