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SriLankan and Fits Air ask permission to recruit foreign pilots to overcome severe shortage

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By Chaminda Silva

SriLankan Airlines and Fits Air operating international flights from here, have sought permission to hire foreign pilots, Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka Director General and Chief Executive Officer P. A. Jayakantha said addressing an event at the Aviation Authority

Both airlines have a serious shortage of pilots, he said.A large number of Sri Lankan aviation industry experts and pilots have left the country in the past six months to join foreign airlines that pay much higher salaries, he said.

Jayakantha said there is a great demand for Sri Lankan aviation industry experts and pilots in other countries and the salaries there are five or six times higher than here.

The Civil Aviation Authority itself has been trying to fill eight main posts which had been vacant for a long time, however sufficiently qualified people have not come forward for those posts, he said.

About 70 pilots attached to SriLankan Airlines had resigned during the past six months, it was revealed in Parliament last week.SriLankan needs 330 pilots to operate its flights optimally, but it now only has 260, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said.

The shortage of pilots had led to many cancellations and delays of flights, he said.

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