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May-01-2014 11:30printcomments

Several SL Aircraft Banned from Entering Air Space of European Countries

Economic sanction in disguise?

Sri Lanka air

(COLOMBO Lanka-e-News) - A number of planes belonging to the Sri Lankan (SL) aviation service have been declared as not airworthy and a number of European countries have therefore banned their use of the air space of those countries, according reports reaching Lanka e news. The reason for this ban is the use of corroded decrepit airplanes by the SL aviation service to transport passengers, which do not conform to international standards and hence risky for passenger travel.

One example is the 4 R ADA, A340 category aircraft belonging to the SL aviation service being prohibited from entering the European airspace recently. The ground for this prohibition is this aircraft has been produced 22 years ago, and therefore not suitable for passenger travel.

Usually an aircraft A 340 is considered as suitable for travel only for 20 years from the date of its production. Thereafter they are discarded as scrap. However the A 340 airplane 4 R ADA of the SL aviation service is 22 years old and is still in use. In spite of warning signals issued internationally in respect of these planes, the SL officials ignored them and continued to put the plane in use for several more years.

In the last international warning issued to the SL aviation service when the local officials were paying no heed to those dangers, it was specifically mentioned that entry of the SL airplane into the air space of Europe will be barred.

Unfortunately for SL, it is Shiranthee Rajapakse’s brother who failed to pass even the GCE ordinary level examination is holding the post of chairman of the aviation service. It is therefore little wonder the SL aviation service had nose dived into the deepest depths of despair. Now, this airplane that has been declared as not airworthy and dangerous for passenger travel, and therefore disallowed from using the European air space, has been withdrawn from flights to Europe, and is being used for flights to Bangkok and Singapore.

Adding to the woes of the SL aviation service are the woes of the workers of the service. Since they are paid the lowest salaries in the world relatively, the service is in serious trouble. A good aviation service cannot be maintained without competent engineers and Technological officers who would not work for a paltry salary. In SL, the monthly salary of an aircraft mechanic is just Rs. 20,000/-. This salary is drawn by an ordinary peon in private Institutions. The monthly salary of an aircraft technician is a mere Rs. 25,000/-. Even in India an aircraft technician draws a salary of Rs. 40, 000/- which in SL rupees is about Rs. 100,000/-

The SL aviation service is regarded as the service that pays the lowest salaries in the world vis a vis the aviation services of other countries in the world. These factors are having a most detrimental effect on the aviation service standard.

Based on international standards, a technician in SL aviation service must work about 16 hours instead of the normal 11 hours duty, in order to collect the higher salary that is due to him ordinarily. The international aviation services have concluded that owing to this lop sided wage structure the SL aviation service is plunged in a most precarious situation, because when the technicians are not in a happy and steady frame of mind , the lives of the passengers of the aircraft can be imperiled. When an employee who ought to work for 11 hours is made to stretch his working hours to 16 hours, he cannot give of his best performance. Taking into account all these factors, the European countries have banned several SL aircraft from entering their air space.

Some sources interpret this action as an indirect economic sanction imposed against the Rajapakse regime.

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