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Caribbean Airlines Family Day ‘grounded’

By Clint Chan Tack Monday, March 10 2008

click on pic to zoom in

CARIBBEAN AIRLINES (CA) First Anniversary Family/Open Day celebrations failed to come off yesterday as controversy continues to swirl around the airline’s plans to acquire a Bombardier Global XRS jet for an executive jet service.

However CA marketing manager Francois Pariseau yesterday said the reason for the cancellation was not because of the general uproar caused by the decision to purchase the private jet. But because the time was too short.

Contacted yesterday, Pariseau said the airline had thought about staging the family/open day to celebrate its first anniversary in operations since it launched on January 1, 2007 but “the time to organise this event was too short.”

He stated that as far as he was aware, negotiations for the acquisition of the jet had not been concluded and “there are no negotiations on the weekend.”

CA had announced the staging of the event by way of a press release dated February 24, and no notice of a cancellation was sent to the media who was invited.

However, when the media turned up at the ground yesterday only a security guard was there, and he said the function had been cancelled.

Aviation Communication and Allied Workers Union (ACAWU) president Curtis John said he was unaware that CA had cancelled its anniversary/open day celebrations. He claimed that since news broke about the private jet issue last week, there has been “nothing whatsoever” coming out of CA.

At last Thursday’s post-Cabinet news conference at Whitehall, Works and Transport Minister Colm Imbert said CA sent a letter dated February 27 to the Ministry of Finance asking for US$63 million to purchase a jet for the setting up of a jet leasing company. Cabinet approved the CA request the following day at its regular meeting.

Speaking in the House of Representatives on Friday, Imbert said that no money had been paid to the manufacturer of the jet, but the money requested by CA had been placed in a CA bank account pending finalisation of the contract.

The decision to support CA in this venture was regarded as a way of enabling the Government to purchase a private jet for the use of Prime Minister Patrick Manning.

There has been widespread public opposition to the purchase of the jet.

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