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A Caribbean Airlines craft in full flight. (File photo)

Caribbean Airlines reports ‘significant progress’ in restructuring exercise

A Caribbean Airlines craft in full flight. (File photo)

Caribbean Airlines (CAL) last Friday said it has made “significant progress” on its restructuring plans after suffering severe economic fallout due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In June, CAL announced a loss of TT$172.7 million (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents) as well as a 75 per cent decline in revenue, compared to the same period in 2020.

“The airline has adjusted its planned strategy, fleet size and route network to reflect the decreased size of its future market…”

It said that the figures represented its unaudited financial results for the first quarter of 2021 and the airline also announced a significant reduction in its workforce with at least 450 jobs being lost.

CAL said that the losses follow a similar downturn in 2020, which saw an operating loss of TT$738 million compared to operating profits for 2018 and 2019.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the airline would need at least TT$110 million to meet severance payments.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Finance Minister Colm Imbert (Photo: Newsday)

In its statement on Friday, CAL said it “has made significant progress on the previously announced consultation process for its proposed restructuring, undertaken as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its commercial activities.

“The airline has adjusted its planned strategy, fleet size and route network to reflect the decreased size of its future market, specifically, reduced passenger numbers, which is estimated to remain below 2019 levels for the next two to three years,” CAL added.

It said that during the past five weeks “extensive discussions” were held with employees and employee representatives in the various locations that Caribbean Airlines operates

“The process was constructive and as a result, the number of employees to be separated is now 280, significantly fewer than previously estimated. In addition, 99 employees will remain on temporary lay-off for an extended period,” CAL said, without further elaboration.

It said the impacted employees are being informed directly, with a 45 day notice period thereafter.