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Sri Lankan pilots raised alarms in working conditions with the Airline

The management of SriLankan Airlines is being urged by the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka (ALPGSL) to address its concerns surrounding the working conditions at the national carrier. The Guild lists underpaying and overwork as some of the issues.

It comes after reports that other employees of the oneworld airline earned incentives. ALPGSL said that the airline was already losing more than 50 pilots and that this situation will only worsen.

“Catastrophic state of affairs”

The group alleged in a statement that the current circumstances and the management of the carrier’s lack of response have contributed to the pilots’ low morale. While reiterating our commitment and dedication to our beloved airline, its customers, and the nation as a whole, we would like to note that there have been serious and frequently critical issues that the airline’s management has not addressed, which has led to the current catastrophic situation. Due to a slew of decisions made by the airline’s management that force us to be overworked, the airline’s pilots have been left in the dark.

The pilot shortage within

To run its planned flights and operate at full capacity, SriLankan needs more than 300 pilots. Seventy pilots left the airline in the past year over the working circumstances, but the group warned that “many more” resignations could be made owing to the problems, leading to “a complete depletion of pilots.”

ALPGSL criticized the airline’s administration, claiming that there are only about 300 pilots employed by the company.

“The cadre of Pilots which should be at 330 now only has approximately 250 as a result of the shortsighted, arbitrary, and callous decisions of the Management,” the association stated. A recent incident in which a flight to South Korea was delayed for more than 12 hours brought SriLankan’s pilot staffing issue to light.SriLankan flight 470, carrying migrant workers to South Korea, was supposed to take off at 20:20 but was delayed because a member of the cockpit crew became ill, according to EconomyNext. In a statement, the airline cited “various regulations for fatigue and safety that govern operating crew” as the reason they were unable to find a replacement pilot, but ALPGSL asserted that “there were no pilots on standby to be assigned to a flight,” further highlighting how serious the problem was.

According to reports, the airline also offers its pilots some of the lowest compensation in the business. The Guild claims that Sri Lankan pilots’ pay is significantly below industry standards, with their salary being paid at an arbitrary US dollar exchange rate that is roughly 40% lower than the Central Bank’s rate before June 2023. According to ALPGSL, the pandemic caused a 50% reduction in salaries. Nevertheless, despite the reductions, pilots continued to fly, which brought in money and made it possible to transfer vital medical supplies during the COVID-19 crisis. The airline, according to the group, singled out the pilots while giving bonuses to other staff.

The Pilots are still owed a significant portion of their contractually required income package that was in place prior to the Covid outbreak, despite all other departments in the airline receiving raises and ex-gratia payments (bonuses) today.

dealing with and resolving the problem

According to reports, Richard Nuttall, CEO of SriLankan Airlines, has predicted a $50 million profit for the company this year. The airline has been contacted by Simple Flying, but a representative could not be reached right away.

The Guild added, “We urge that these matters be brought to the general public’s and all stakeholders of the Airline’s attention in order to facilitate the issues raised being addressed and resolved.

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