CAL/Air Jamaica to drop unprofitable routes – minister

(Trinidad Express) Within two weeks action will be taken to stop the haemorrhaging of finances at Caribbean Airlines (CAL), says chairman Rabindra Moonan.

This includes the dropping of unprofitable CAL and Air Jamaica routes.

Yesterday, Transport Minister Devant Maharaj officially introduced Moonan to the other members of the CAL board and mandated them to start cutting CAL’s costs.

“I urged them to try as quickly as possible to address the concerns of losses which includes to my mind addressing the routes that are not profitable and that are not fiscally beneficial to Trinidad and Tobago/Air Jamaica operations, areas where there may be bloated expenditure that need to be addressed,” said Maharaj.

Maharaj noted that Air Jamaica’s director Dennis Lalor was also present at the meeting and he requested that Lalor looks at ways to reduce expenditure with respect to Air Jamaica’s operational costs.

Maharaj said he will be visiting Jamaica in the near future to meet with that country’s Transport Minister to discuss “synergies” that need to be addressed.

He added that he also requested a detailed break down of the airlines’ debts that was presented by Finance Minister Winston Dookeran at the Parliament sitting last Friday.

Prior to the board meeting, Maharaj said he and Moonan met with officials of the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that all technical requirements in terms of civil aviation and by extension the federal aviation authority were being met by CAL.

“I feel that there is a certain degree of potential in the board given the approach of Mr Moonan with the board that perhaps did not exist before,” said Maharaj.

Contacted yesterday, Moonan told the Express that the meeting went “very well” and a wide range of issues were discussed.

Moonan said he has already requested reports and proposals with an aim to decrease CAL’s expenditure.

“We are looking and we have asked the management to give us proposals, there is basically one way to turn your fortune around and that is to increase revenue and cut costs,” said Moonan.

He said short-term action plans will be taken to reduce overheads—such as reducing the operational costs in Jamaica by revisiting the hanger space and office spaces.

Moonan said he also requested a report on all CAL and Air Jamaica routes and unprofitable routes will be dropped.

He added that everything was on stream for CAL to fly direct to London from next month and he added that the aircraft will be arriving in this country next Wednesday.

Moonan said in two weeks steps will be taken to begin turning around the airline with a hope of decreasing the drain on the nation’s treasury.

Dookeran had disclosed last Friday that CAL recorded a consolidated unaudited loss of US$52.8 million (TT$339.5 million) for 2011, while Air Jamaica recorded an unaudited loss of US$38.1 million (TT$ 245.2 million).


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