Trinidad transport minister vows to make changes to stem CAL’s losses
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Thursday May 17, 2012 – Just days after his counterpart in the Ministry of Finance revealed that Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) lost a whopping US$52 million last year; Transport Minister Devant Maharaj has charged the airline’s board to dramatically cut costs.
Minister Devant Maharaj revealed to local media that not only had he urged the board to quickly address the losses, especially as they related to routes that were not profitable and nor fiscally beneficial to CAL or Air Jamaica’s operations, but he specifically requested Air Jamaica's director Dennis Lalor to look at ways to reduce expenditure with respect to Air Jamaica's operational costs.
It was revealed by Finance Minister Winston Dookeran at the recent Parliament sitting that, of the $52 million loss recorded, US$38 million of that was a result of Air Jamaica’s operational losses. He also revealed that CAL had debts totalling more than US$40 million.
These figures seem to have slightly blind-sided Maharaj, who admitted to the media that he has now requested a detailed breakdown of the airlines' debts as presented by Dookeran.
Maharaj also disclosed that he would be going himself to Jamaica in the near future to meet with that country's Transport Minister to discuss "synergies" that could be used to improve the profit position of the airline.
The transport minister made these disclosures to media following a meeting with the CAL board at which he officially introduced recently appointed chairman Rabindra Moonan to the other members of the board and mandated them to start cutting CAL's costs.
"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.
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.