Pilots abandon Sri Lankan Airlines for Indian shores

After the Dubai-based carrier Emirates pulled out 43 per cent equity stake from Sri Lankan Airline, over 28 pilots whose contracts are nearing an end are up for grabs by Indian carriers.
The initial 10 year contract between the two airlines expires in April this year and will not be renewed, according to Emirates.
For the airlines in India looking to expand internationally, skilled and experienced pilots from Sri Lankan Airlines flying wide-body aircraft are more than welcome. Both the leading carriers, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines, have reportedly hired from the Sri Lankan carrier.
The airlines in India do not want to come on record over the issue as “the matter is being now discussed between the governments of the two countries”, said an airline executive.
But confirming that the India-based airlines have been approached by these pilots, a source from a leading private airlines said, “At least 5-10 captains from the Sri Lankan Airlines are seeking recruitment with our airline.”
“We are seeking captains for the Airbus wide-bodies which will be put on the long-haul routes. We will get at least 10 of these aircraft this year, for which approximately 250 pilots are required,” said a Kingfisher Airlines source who did not want to be named.
Jet Airways, however, admitted that it hired Sri Lankan Airlines’ pilots earlier. “We have six ex-Sri Lankan pilots flying A330s. But they joined us quite some back,” said Jet’s CEO, Wolfgang Prock-Schauer.
Even carriers in West Asia are eyeing the pilot booty. Gulf Air said, “If pilots are available and seeking employment, it is good for airlines world-wide. We are not confirming at this stage that we are recruiting from the Sri Lankan Airlines, but if capable pilots are there why not? (recruit them)."
The spokesperson for Sri Lankan Airlines from Colombo told Business Standard, “Officials in the right capacity to comment on the issue are in transit or are in foreign locales and they will not be able to make any comments.” The paper did got in touch with an official in transit, but he refused to comment.

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