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Caribbean Airlines records over US$14 million in losses due to COVID-19

Trinidad and Tobago State-owned carrier Caribbean Airlines (CAL) has recorded a loss of more than US$14 million in just over one month, as a result of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the minister in the Ministry of Finance, Allyson West, has said.

Trinidadian Senator Allyson West is also a minister in the Ministry of Finance (Photo: 103FM)

She told the Senate that the airline, for the period March 23 to April 30, has estimated its losses at US$14.2 million.

“The financial impact to Caribbean Airlines Limited from losses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic took effect from the beginning of March 2020, prior to the closure of our national borders,” she said, adding that demand for air travel had “already been reduced significantly.

“The impact was further exacerbated following the closure of our borders at midnight on March 22. As a wholly owned State enterprise, Caribbean Airlines Limited has complied with government policy during the COVID-19 pandemic and maintained all of its staff on payroll,” West revealed.

She said in addition to that measure, notwithstanding the fact that air travel is severely restricted at present, CAL is also required to keep its aircraft leases up to date and ensure also that the planes are airworthy and all of its systems functioning in readiness for the resumption of flights.

“The financial impact to Caribbean Airlines Limited from losses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic took effect from the beginning of March 2020, prior to the closure of our national borders.”

— Senator Allyson West, minister in the Ministry of Finance

Last November, the airline reported its unaudited summary financial results for January to September 2019, showing it continues to achieve an operating profit and is net income positive.

The unaudited results for the nine months ending September 2019 show earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of TT$121 million. Revenue for the period was TT$2.3 billion, up 3.8 per cent.

Garvin Medera, chief executive officer, Caribbean Airlines Limited (File photo)

“It has truly been a breakout year for Caribbean Airlines. Another strong financial performance means we can continue our investments into new planes and services for our customers, building a better place to work for our employees, and supporting communities across the Caribbean through sponsorship, economic activity, and global connectivity.” Garvin Medera, the airline’s chief executive officer, said then.

— CMC