T&T Govt fires Caribbean Airlines directors

Jamaica’s Dennis Lalor appointed to new board

Friday, May 17, 2013

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) - Less than 72 hours after he announced that Caribbean Airlines (CAL) had accumulated losses of more than US$100 million, Trinidad Finance Minister Larry Howai Friday said that the current board of directors of the state-owned airline has been replaced.

Howai told a news conference that the new interim board will be chaired by former independent legislator Phillip Marshall and includes the Jamaican Dennis Lalor.

Howai told reporters that the new board would have to outline measures to turn around the fortunes of the airline that accumulated losses of US$110 million including a US$40 million in government subsidies.

On Tuesday, Howai told the Senate that the preliminary unaudited figures showed US$32 million of the $70 million loss was incurred by the Air Jamaica route, with the London route also accounting for a major part of the losses.

Caribbean Airlines, which began operations in 2007, acquired Air Jamaica in 2011. The Jamaican Government has a 16 per cent stake in the Trinidadian air carrier.
“On the Jamaica route, it has cut flights to Jamaica and on the London route, it has terminated the wet-leasing arrangement,” Howai said, adding he expects to “significantly reduce the losses of the airline during this year”.

The finance minister said the airline used a lot of its cash in the acquisition of planes and that he had instructed that a new restructuring of the balance sheet be done where the airline would have to borrow and replace the cash which had previously been used.
“It is better to leverage the asset rather than leave it unencumbered while having the company incurring significant debt obligations.”
Howai said the US$40 million fuel subsidy applies to Air Jamaica and CAL. He said it was the same as last year and would end in 2015.




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