Lankan skies becoming dangerous for aircraft

Country short of 38 air traffic controllers

The Air Traffic Controllers Association yesterday said that there was a severe risk faced by the aircraft using our air space due to an acute shortage of their staff.

A spokesman for the association said matters had taken a turn for the worse with the closure of Bandaranaike International Airport during day time for relaying of the runway thereby resulting in more flights touching down and taking off in the night.

"The minimum requirement to operate the service is 120 air traffic controllers but right now there are only 82," he said.

Although the Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva had ordered the Civil Aviation Authority to recruit 36 air traffic controllers in 2016, it had not been implemented, he pointed out.

Those at the control towers had to man around 300 international aircraft entering air space in addition to about 100 training aircraft and light aircraft operating locally, he added.

Our air control zone extends to a distance of 900,000 square kilometeres and an altitude of 460,000 feet reaching as far as India, the Maldives, Indonesia, Australia and Australia

The air traffic controllers are deployed at Ratmalana and Katunayake Approach Radar Centres and the Area Control Centre at Ratmalana.

After the Civil Aviation Authority took over the control of Batticaloa domestic airport the shortage of controllers had become worse, he said.

The spokesman warned that the government’s failure to recruit the required number of air traffic controllers had resulted in some of the dissatisfied and disgruntled officers seeking their fortunes overseas.



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