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No pilots for 80 SriLankan flights! – Dayasiri

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Kurunegala District MP – Dayasiri Jayasekara said in Parliament today (23) that there are pilots for 80 flights of the national carrier – SriLankan airlines.

He also added that 13 flights of SriLankan Airlines have been canceled between June 18 – 22.

The passengers of the canceled flights have been accommodated in nearby hotels. No one knows how much it cost…Millions of rupees may have to be spent on this, he charged.

MP Jayasekara said the subject Minister was trying to suppress the real issue in SriLankan Airlines and was trying to create a situation to sell off the airline.

“The pilots are demanding a payment due for them during the Covid period. Nearly 50 percent of the pilots worked during the Covid period even though flights were grounded,” he added.

The MP also charged that the public is also inconvenienced as vehicles of passengers are not allowed to enter the airport premises.

“They have to lug their luggage along the road and to the passenger lounge,” he said.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader – Sajith Premadasa also spoke on the dearth of pilots.

“In the past 06 months, 70 pilots of SriLankan airlines have left. Now, there are less than 260. 18 more will go to Emirates this year. The country’s requirement is 330 pilots whereas there are only 260. Then, the remaining pilots who are there will be compelled to violate international regulations while working… They are compelled to cut down on their resting hours which could pose a risk to the passengers. I urge the  government to resolve the dearth of pilots,” he said.

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SriLankan enters into partnership with Virgin Australia

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SriLankan Airlines has entered into a first-ever interline partnership with Virgin Australia that will strengthen the airline’s network in Australia and offer customers extensive connections across the land down under and beyond.

The new partnership reaffirms SriLankan’s commitment to Australia and will present customers the convenience of adding select Virgin Australia domestic or international connections to their SriLankan Airlines booking and managing a multi-airline itinerary under a single ticket.

Dimuthu Tennakoon, Head of Worldwide Sales & Distribution of SriLankan Airlines commented on the partnership by stating, “Australia has one of the largest Sri Lankan diasporic communities, which makes our Australian routes incredibly popular all year around and particularly with people travelling to visit friends and relatives or in pursuit of higher education.  This partnership will help us make further inroads in the Australian market through improved connectivity and a range of other benefits for our valued customers.”

SriLankan Airlines currently operates daily from Colombo to Melbourne and from Colombo to Sydney on a thrice-weekly basis. The partnership will enable passengers flying SriLankan to Melbourne or Sydney to connect to the Australian cities of Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Cairns, Darwin, Hobart, Hamilton Island, Launceston, Gold Coast and Perth with Virgin Australia. Passengers will also have the option of flying beyond Australia to New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji. It is a win for Sri Lankan and Indian Australians living in these cities too as they can now fly out from their local city to Sri Lanka or India with a single SriLankan Airlines’ booking. What’s more, passengers can enjoy a seamless journey with a single check-in, including for baggage, at the departure airport and beat transit check-in queues.

The introduction of domestic and international interline flights options with Virgin Australia would improve the accessibility to Sri Lanka for Australian outbound tourists as well. An important customer group for SriLankan, the partnership will unquestionably help develop Australian leisure travel to Sri Lanka. It will also provide easy connections for SriLankan Airlines’ passengers flying to Australia via Colombo from the Maldives, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Since relaunching flights to Melbourne in October 2017 and Sydney in June 2020, close to a million passengers have travelled with SriLankan Airlines to Australia. The new partnership will enhance SriLankan Airlines’ service to Australia as the airline prepares to cruise to new altitudes above the land down under. For more information on SriLankan’s Australian operations visit www.srilankan.com

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Colombo International Book Fair 2023 kicks off

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Sri Lanka’s largest book exhibition, ‘Colombo International Book Fair’, commenced today (22) at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH). 

The book fair organised by the Sri Lanka Book Publishers’ Association will be held until October 1 from 9.00 am – 9.00 pm.

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Import tax on powdered milk increased

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Port and Airport Levy (PAL) on imported milk powder has been increased by 10%, says Trade Minister Nalin Fernando.

The tax increase comes into effect today (Sept. 22).

However, the prices of powdered milk in the local market will not be increased following the PAL hike, the Minister has assured.

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