The Air Traffic Controllers’ Association of Sri Lanka (SLATCA) has raised concerns over a potential standstill of air traffic movements, owing to the increasing number of controllers resigning from their posts.

Issuing a statement in this regard, SLATCA noted that 19 air traffic controllers have resigned from their posts within a span of a year. 

“If four or five more controllers leave, air traffic movements will come to a standstill even without a strike”, SLATCA President, Thisara Amarananda said in this regard, emphasisng that such a standstill would a pose threat to the Sri Lanka’s road to recovery.

“The President of Sri Lanka Mr. Wickremesinghe outlined the importance of exports, foreign investments, and tourist arrivals in a bid to strengthen our economy, all of which requires the service of these Air Traffic Controllers”, he said in this regard.

Amarananda further accused subject Minister Nimal Siripala de Siva of not making any efforts towards the retention of air traffic controllers, adding that although a retention plan was drawn up for a period of three years by the Airport and Aviation Services of Sri Lanka (AASL), in consultation with SLATCA, it is yet to be implemented.

The SLATCA President attributed this delay in implementation to the Ports Minister’s refusal to approve the retention plan.

He further noted that Siripala had also proposed that the standard of require educational qualifications for the role of an air traffic controller be brought down, to which he responded “Lowering the education qualifications of candidates to one of the most responsible jobs in Sri Lanka may serve the self-centered appetite if politicians, but in no way remedies the ailing ATC community”. 

Thus, SLATCA warned that although several upward trends are currently seen within the island’s deteriorated economy, such as the increased number of tourists recently reported by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority), the inattentiveness displayed by the government remains a threat to this development. 

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