|CAL paying US$270,000 monthly for discontinued London route |
Tuesday, March 14 2017
CARIBBEAN Airlines (CAL) still has to commit taxpayers’ money to paying for aircraft which it no longer has and for a route which it no longer flies. During a public hearing between CAL representatives and members of the State Enterprises Joint Select Committee (JSC) at Tower D of the Portof- Spain International Waterfront Centre yesterday, the committee was told that the State owned airline still has to pay US$270,000 per month with respect to its discontinued service to London.
Acting CEO Capt Jagmohan Singh said CAL is still paying part of the lease for two Boeing 767 aircraft which CAL was using for its Port-of- Spain to London route.
That route was discontinued on October 6, 2015, almost one month after the People’s National Movement (PNM) won the September 7, 2015 general election. CAL officials explained that the figure of US$270,000 per month equated to a cost of US$135,000 per month for each of the Boeing-767 planes which the State-owned airline no longer has.
The officials said the agreement to dry lease these planes ends in August.
The two Boeing 767 aircraft are currently being used in Canada.
Last October, CAL Corporate Communications Manager, Dionne Ligoure said after conducting a review of the network, the airline made a decision to withdraw the Boeing 767 planes from its operations and to discontinue flights from Trinidad to London-Gatwick with effect from January 10, 2016.
This means that for the last 13 months since this route was stopped, CAL would have paid approximately US$3,510,000 for these planes under the existing lease agreement.
By the time the agreement ends in August, CAL is expected to pay approximately, an additional US$1,620,000.
In total, CAL would have paid approximately US$5,130,000 for these two planes from last January to August.
Last October, Ligoure said the costs associated with maintaining the operation of these planes led CAL to the decision of simplifying its fleet.
She said CAL would now focus its limited resources on building connectivity in the North American and Caribbean markets.
At yesterday’s hearing, Senator Dr Lester Henry expressed shock at these figures and the fact that the airline still has to make these payments