Three-year lifeline for Caribbean Airlines

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Sept 24, 2014 – Finance Minister Larry Howai has told the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives that Caribbean Airlines (CAL) would remain in the red for at least three more years and that the government would have to provide funds up until 2017.

He said the Trinidad and Tobago government will provide an estimated TT$1.8 billion (One TT dollar =US$0.16 cents) into the airline.

Howai also told legislators that a restructuring plan had been put in place that would lead to the gradual reduction of the subsidy given to the airline over the next three years. He said however the airline would not reach a level of sustainability within the next three years.

Howai said most of the subsidy to CAL was a result of the fuel subsidy estimated at US$50 million and the support for the Tobago air bridge valued at US$26 million.

The Finance Minister said that the airline had also incurred a loss on the Venezuela route due to the devaluation of the Bolivar currency.

‘’This was further impacted by the fact that you cannot get funds out of Venezuela at this point in time. So the monies to pay for that Venezuela route has been tied up and has further tightened the cash flows of Caribbean Airlines. That figure is US$45 million,” he said, adding that losses came as a result of the integration of Air Jamaica.

Source: Caribbean News Source