CAL owes T&T Airports Authority $210m in rent

Hayden Newton, General Manager at the AATT during Tuesday’s meeting.

(Trinidad Guardian) The national airline, Caribbean Airlines (CAL) owes a staggering $210 million in rent to the Airports Authority of T&T (AATT), according to the Auditor General’s Department.

CAL has promised to come up with some kind of settlement plan to pay off the outstanding arrears.

This was revealed on Tuesday in a Public Accounts Committee meeting chaired by Bhoe Tewarie at the Parliament Building, Port-of-Spain.

AATT’s general manager Hayden Newton said two things were raised by the Auditor General’s department with regards to the $192 million rental debt owed by national airline and its estate lands at Piarco.

In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Newton said the debt relates to “rent for CAL’s head office and their hangars on the airport’s estate at Piarco.”

The debt has been accumulating since 2007, he said.

Tewarie asked assistant auditor general Shiva Sinanan to share his comments on AATT’s financial audited statements.

Sinanan said the department’s general concern was CAL’s debt to AATT which went from “$129 million in 2012 to $210 million in 2018, according to the documents here…a 63 per cent increase in the management of that debt…and if it is collective at all.”

On the books, Sinanan said there was an $8.9 million in receivables from defunct BWIA.

Committee member Adrian Leonce asked Newton what the AATT intended to do to ensure that CAL’s debt does not increase.

“I can point to the fact that we have raised this with CAL. I want to point to the fact that within recent times the new board and the new CEO have indicated that they will be sitting down with the Airports Authority to come to some kind of settlement. We look forward to that.”

The committee was told that AATT’s overtime bill was $22 million monthly. It was revealed that AATT spends $22 million annually on repairs and maintenance.

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