Caribbean Airlines wants to compete without subsidies
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, Thursday, December 15, 2011 – Caribbean Airlines is aiming to become the first regional national carrier to not need subsidised support from its main government shareholder.
This was revealed recently by its chairman George Nicholas who said Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) was working towards more profitability and self-sufficiency without a fuel subsidy and by the end of next year.
This, was expected, he said, through new projects CAL was bringing on-stream, including new routes and the introduction of a "Jet-Pack" courier service.
Nicholas was speaking at the recent launch of its direct flights between Barbados and Guyana and the introduction of a St Lucia service at the company's head office in Piarco.
Nicholas, who has been criticised following his statement last month that CAL has made a $200 million profit in the face of a Government jet-fuel subsidy, said the subsidy was not "traditionally calculated in the company's profit and loss statement".
"The $200 million calculation is based on a trend that was submitted to Cabinet in July. The subsidy is not generally subtracted from the profit and loss statements. You do not calculate it as a cost to the airline. You don't charge for a free gift," he said.
"The fuel subsidy has not been part of the profit and loss statement for the past 20 years," he said.
Nicholas is however hoping to do away with the entire subsidy issue by the end of 2012.
"We hope to be fully sustainable by the end of 2012. We have to fly more routes with better yields. We have the new planes that are more fuel efficient versus other aircraft," he said.
Nicholas also said CAL would soon introduce a daily door-to-door cargo service and would add three cargo 767 planes as a freight service.
"We are making money any way we can," he said.
The local carrier's second new ATR plane is expected to be in the country before Friday.
CAL has also introduced non-stop services to Barbados and Guyana three times a week and an inter-island service out of Barbados.