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SriLankan Airlines to ramp up training as skills shortages loom
16 Nov, 2012 11:16:25
Nov 16, 2012 (LBO) - SriLankan Airlines is to increase its training of airline personnel to help alleviate looming skills shortages in the region, an aviation forum was told.
Sri Lankan Airlines chief executive Kapila Chandrasena said the costs of operations were going up while ticket prices were coming down.

"What we do is put our people as the foundation," he told the second International Air Transport Association 'Global Human Capital Summit' in Colombo which looked at training needs.

"The equipment - the aircraft - is pretty much the same. What makes a difference is services, which is provided by people. So we put great emphasis on people," Chandrasena said.

The airline is looking at technical training which is hugely popular in the region.

"Now we have more demand than what we can cater for," he said in an interview. "We're looking at setting up a world class centre for excellence for aviation training,"

Pilot training in the region is also on the rise, he said.

"We're looking at capturing a part of that. Ticketing and cargo are very popular and will generate training opportunities. We aim to leverage our educated, skilled, adaptable workforce."

Chandrasena does not anticipate a shortage of youth joining the industry.

"Given that in Sri Lankan universities, the area of choice is medicine and engineering, we don't see a shortage of young talent coming into the industry."

The airline is looking at partnerships and is in talks with foreign universities to get training and expertise.

"We are also in talks with global universities to provide technical training to enhance value add.We are trying to establish the knowledge and expertise we don't have and are looking at partnerships and joint ventures."

There were "huge shortages" in certain sectors of the aviation industry.

"In maintenance, there's a shortage of something like 15,000 personnel. There are also predictions of a shortage of 9,000 pilots.

In non-technical airline operations the shortage is almost 100,000.

SriLankan Airlines is also looking regional training opportunities and has signed up with "one or two" regional carriers.

Chandrasena envisages the airline will reach break even in late 2014 or 2015. "That depends greatly on jet fuel prices."

The airline aims to double by 2015-16 the number of passengers is carries which is around 3.5 million a year today.

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READER COMMENT(S)
2. Viraj Nov 17
There are so many with Pilot license. However one has to have connections in Colombo to get selected. Aviation is still who you know and how you are connected in SriLanka.
1. DS Nov 16
Even now, Sri Lankan air lines (or Air Lank previously) is known as a training center.

Sri Lankan air lines takes the cost and the effort of training, and all the middle eastern airlines pick them up after 2-3 years. Emirates, qatar, etihad just to name a few. Its a huge drain of skilled and trained labour, after all the hard work has been done.

A vicious cycle where Sri Lankan airlines is always short of well trained and experienced personnel.