PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The chief executive officer of the cash-strapped state-owned airline, Garvin Medera, Monday said that new measures being implemented by Caribbean Airlines (CAL) to reverse its decline in revenue and job losses will not affect the quality of service, safety and customer care.
CAL had earlier announced a loss of TT$172.7 million as well as a 75 per cent decline in revenue, compared to the same period in 2020.
In a statement, the airline, which has been hard hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, said that the figures represented its unaudited financial results for the first quarter of 2021. It has also announced a significant reduction in its workforce with at least 450 jobs being lost.
CAL said that the losses follow a similar downturn in 2020, which saw an operating loss of TT$738 million compared to operating profits for 2018 and 2019.
In a letter to passengers, Madera acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted “all aspects of our lives,” causing “an unprecedented shock to air travel, resulting in border closures and reduced travel demand, as the world grappled to deal with the virus”.
He said over the last year, the pandemic has had a “damning impact on Caribbean Airlines’ operations and financial position” but “despite these monumental challenges…we continued to offer services on many routes and provided invaluable repatriation flights for Caribbean citizens.
“Our cargo operations diversified as we offered charter services and expanded into new markets,” he said, adding “we made major changes that substantially reduced our costs and kept the airline operational, but the situation now requires us to take further steps to ensure that Caribbean Airlines has a sustainable model for 2021 and beyond”.
Madera said this strategic restructure will focus on significant cost reductions in all areas of the airline’s operations, “specifically our people, our fleet and other assets, and our route network.
“However, we wish to re-assure you that these decisions will not impact our passenger and cargo services, nor will it affect the quality of service, safety and customer care that we give to you.”
Madera said Caribbean Airlines “remains committed to connecting the people of the region and in spite of the challenges we face, our teams are dedicated to our vision to be the airline of choice serving the Caribbean”.