Caribbean Airlines on Tuesday announced that the airline suffered a loss of US$109.2 million for year ending December 2020.
The unaudited financial results reveal how severe the global COVID-19 pandemic had on the airline’s bottom line. The Trinidad based carrier Earnings Before Interest & Taxes (EBIT) for 2020 amounted to TT$802m (US$118.6m).
This is in stark comparison to 2019, which saw a positive EBIT of TT$76m (US$11.2m) on revenue of TT$3bn (US$440m) for the 12-month period. Operating expenses for 2020 were TT$1.54bn (US$228m), 47% lower than 2019 due to fewer flights and strict cost controls.
Garvin Medera, CEO of Caribbean Airlines, said: “The first two months of 2020 continued our upward trajectory of the previous three years and the next phase of our strategic plan was commencing strongly. However, Covid-19 has taken a sledgehammer to international travel and tourism for the past 10 months and our financial results for last year fully reflect this new reality.”
Mr. Medera added: “Nonetheless, in spite of the pandemic, and reduced flying, we managed to add new destinations to our network and expanded our cargo offerings to include charter services. We also provided support through repatriation flights for a number of Caribbean nations and resumed operations in some destinations outside of Trinidad and Tobago where borders are open.”
At times during 2020 passenger flights were 90% lower than the same period for the previous year as a result of international border closures from March 2020 onwards. Passenger numbers for 2020 fell substantially by 71% to a mere 741,676 (371,549 of which travelled on the domestic air bridge between Trinidad and Tobago), in comparison to 2019 when the airline carried 2,595,526 persons.
Mr. S. Ronnie Mohammed, Caribbean Airlines Chairman, stated: “2020 was the worst year on record for the global travel industry and specifically for aviation. Regrettably, Caribbean Airlines was hit hard. From a promising period of progress and profitability, we were severely negatively impacted. However, the Board of Directors and Management remain committed to the sustainability of Caribbean Airlines in 2020 and beyond.”
Caribbean Airlines’ current operation is scaled back due to COVID-19 restrictions throughout its route network.