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Sri Lankan flights grounded as pilots leave

Sri Lanka's national carrier was forced to cancel some of its flights after pilots quit to join other airlines offering better salaries.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2006 15:11 IST

Sri Lanka's national carrier has been forced to cancel some flights and reschedule others after 10 per cent of its pilots quit over the past three months to join other airlines offering better salaries, officials said on Tuesday.

Two Sri Lankan Airlines London-bound flights were cancelled over the last few days and many others were delayed after the departure of 30 experienced pilots out of the airline's total roster of 300, the carrier's head of corporate management, Chandana de Silva, said.

"Passengers of cancelled flights had been rerouted on other airlines…we have taken a lot of measures and the situation is now returning to normalcy," de Silva said.

"We have launched a recruitment drive for pilots and we will be able to resolve this problem," de Silva added.

A Sri Lankan Airlines pilot said on condition of anonymity that many of those who recently quit were among the most experienced pilots.

The monthly salary of a Sri Lankan Airlines pilot is about 1 million rupees, while some airlines elsewhere in Asia and the Middle-East offer monthly pay three times that amount, he said.

First Published: Feb 28, 2006 14:49 IST