SriLankan Airlines has signed a long-term collective agreement with its Aircraft Engineers’ Union, strengthening its efforts to position Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) as a regional hub for aircraft maintenance.
CEO Manoj Gunawardena said: “SriLankan Engineering is expected to become a thrust industry for the airline and turn BIA into a centre that serves the aircraft engineering requirements of airlines throughout the region. While we have been investing in our facilities at BIA, our greatest asset is our staff, who possess a very high level of professionalism and experience. While you can build hangars and purchase equipment and tooling, the real assets are the people who walk in and walk out of the hangar every day. This agreement with our aircraft engineers as well as other agreements including that with aircraft technicians aims to retain the specialised professionals who are critical to our business.”
The Government’s vision for Sri Lanka’s future includes turning the country into a hub for aviation. SriLankan Airlines has already invested in major programmes to support this objective – expanding its fleet to 19 aircraft; commencing construction on a full flight simulator for pilot training; enhancing aviation training programmes for external students and overseas students; and adding more destinations to its global route network.
The three-year agreement with the Association of Licensed Aircraft Engineers (ALAE) was signed on 24 May in Katunayake.
Head of Engineering Priyantha Rose said: “This agreement will strengthen our efforts to obtain more business from existing airline customers and also gather business from new customers. The year 2011 is already our busiest year by far as we are carrying out large programmes for IndiGo Airlines and are negotiating with several other clients. This is in addition to our work on the SriLankan fleet, which has now expanded to 19 aircraft.”
Gunawardena, Rose, Acting Head of Human Resources Sri Senanayake and Base Maintenance Manager A.M. Ariyasena signed the agreement on behalf of the airline; while the ALAE’s signatories were Anura Wickramaarachchi (President), Samantha De Mel (Secretary) and Alex Warnakulasuriya (Treasurer).
Wickramaarachchi said: “Through this agreement, SriLankan Airlines has recognised the value of its aircraft engineers. It is particularly heartening that the airline has enhanced our rewards and remuneration at a time when the global airline industry is undergoing a tough period financially and SriLankan is in particular investing heavily in expansion. I’d like to thank all those who were involved in the discussions, including former Head of Human Resources Pradeepa Dahanayake and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, which acted as the facilitator.”
Senanayake said: “We are delighted to have the ALAE supporting our national carrier so strongly. The intention of signing long-term collective agreements is to ensure domestic harmony within our workforce and to provide suitable rewards to all our employees. The negotiations were characterised by extreme cordiality and goodwill by both sides as well as a recognition that the ultimate outcome must be for the common good of the airline. With the satisfactory conclusion of negotiations with the ALAE, we have almost completed the programme of negotiating long-term agreements with our five employee unions.”