SriLankan Airlines and the SriLankan Aviation College placed Sri Lanka firmly in the centre of the international air travel industry’s focus, with the successful hosting of the industry’s premier annual training-oriented event, theIATA Global Training Partner Conference 2017 in Colombo for the first time.
More than 150 delegates from 50 countries participated in the conference, which is organized each year by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).Global air transport is one of the world’s fastest growing industries, and many of the industrywide activities and initiatives are coordinated by IATA. This conference consisted of IATA training experts from all over the world and provided a platform to discuss and exchange ideas on emerging trends and opportunities in travel and tourism, aviation, and air cargo.
The Conference was hosted by the SriLankan Aviation College (SLAC) and Sponsored by SriLankan Airlines. SriLankan Holidays, the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, the Bank of Ceylon and Sri Lanka Insurance were Co-Sponsors of the event.
Hon. Eran Wickramarathne, Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development, was the Chief Guest at the conference. Guests of Honor included Chairman of SriLankan Airlines Ajith Dias, andthe CEO of the National Carrier Captain Suren Ratwatte, who was also the Keynote Speaker.
Important topics of discussion at the three-day conference at the Cinnamon Grand from 15-17 May included Major Developments in Global Airline Training; the Future Outlook of the Industry; Role of Social Media in Airline Training; Use of Virtual Reality; Changes in Global Tourism; and IATA’s Initiatives for the Industry.
The conference included a Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony, and participants also enjoyed tours of Colombo and Kandy with a visit to the Pinnawela Millennium Elephant Foundation.
The General Manager of SLAC, Primal De Silva, and the Deputy General Manager of SLAC Buddhika Hewawasam, gave presentations that described Sri Lanka’s rapid rise as a global centre of airline industry training over the last several years, driven by SLAC(www.srilankanaviationcollege.com), the training arm of SriLankan Airlines. An Associate Member in IATA’s prestigious TRAINAIR PLUS Programme, SLAC is currently in the midst of a major enhancement of its facilities in Katunayake, where it provides services for over 600 students at any given time, including a large number of foreign students.
Formed in 2013 to merge the diverse training units of SriLankan Airlines that had developed over more than three decades of experience of the National Carrier, SLAC is located at Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake. It consists of six faculties – Travel & Tourism; Airport Services; Cargo & Dangerous Goods Regulations; Image Consultancy; Aircraft Maintenance Avionics; and Aircraft Maintenance Mechanicals. SLAC is scheduled to launch franchise operations shortly in Pakistan and Seychelles. Apart from this SLAC has plans to open franchisee branches in the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central provinces in the country.
SLAC is among the handful of institutions in Asia which has been granted highest industry standards. It is certified by European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Civil Aviation Authorities in Sri Lanka, Maldives and Pakistan. SLAC has academic partnerships with University of Colombo and University of Moratuwa and it has industry partnerships with the Travel Agents Association of Sri Lanka (TAASL) and Charted Institute of Transport and Logistics (CILT).