SriLankan welcomes new blood

SriLankan Airlines has recruited a steady stream of new local pilots
into its Cadet Pilot and Junior First Officer Training Programmes in
recent years, providing opportunities for young Sri Lankan men and women
to embark on rewarding careers in commercial flying.More than 60 young Sri Lankans have been recruited over the last six
years, and are now First Officers or Junior First Officers with the
National Carrier, occupying the traditional “Co-Pilot” seat in aircraft.
They include one female Junior First Officer who is the second female
pilot in the country’s history, and another female Cadet Pilot as well
as five former pilots of the Sri Lanka Air Force.

“The airline has greatly expanded its Cadet Pilot Training Programme as
there is a growing demand for more pilots, with SriLankan continuing to
expand its network,” said Capt. Richard Hutton, Chief Technical Officer
at SriLankan.


SriLankan’s pilots have built a strong reputation for excellence over
more than a quarter-century of flying. Their efficiency contributed
towards SriLankan receiving the award for “World’s Most Efficient
Operator of Airbus A330s (small fleet category)” from Airbus Industrie.



Each group of cadet pilots went through a rigorous selection process,
before being accepted. Many had spent years pursuing their dream of
becoming airline pilots.


“Those who are selected undergo a full training programme through the
Flight Operations Department and Technical Training School, which
includes classroom sessions, hands-on technical sessions at the
Engineering Department and other departments, flying training, and
simulator programmes that are conducted in Dubai or Singapore,” said
Captain Milinda Ratnayake, Senior Manager Flight Operations.


The programme is providing excellent career opportunities for
SriLankan’s own staff to embark on prestigious and rewarding careers as
pilots, as the airline encourages staff to apply. Eight of the Cadet
Pilots have been from departments ranging from Inflight Services to
Aircraft Maintenance.


“This is part of our policy of providing maximum career opportunities
for our existing staff in all departments, before recruiting external
applicants,” said Sunil Dissanayake, Head of Human Resources at
SriLankan. “We routinely advertise all vacant posts that occur
throughout our global network through our Staff Vacancy Notice system
and only seek applicants from outside the airline when suitable
candidates cannot be found internally.”


More opportunities continue to arise as SriLankan has a continuous Cadet
Pilot training programme and has considerably expanded its cadet pilot


“The training facilities we were provided at Flight Operations,
Technical Training and Engineering were very good, and the instructors
were excellent. We underwent Simulator Training in Singapore and the
instructors there were also very good,’’ said Dasis Ishanthamaal, who
completed his Cadet Pilot training last December.


“Overall, the training programme was well planned, and very
comprehensive,” said First Officer Immad Aziz, who was one of the Cadet
Pilots in 2001.