The announced restructuring of Caribbean Airlines (BW, Port of Spain) will affect its operations in both Trinidad & Tobago, and Jamaica, according to Finance Minister Colm Imbert.

“Caribbean Airlines’ restructuring will be taken in both countries in the best interest of the airline,” he confirmed when answering questions from opposition MPs in the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament this week.

This followed on his previous announcement to Parliament that the carrier, which 88.1% owned by the government of Trinidad & Tobago with the Jamaican government holding the remaining 11.9%, would downsize its fleet to 13 aircraft – eight jets and five Avions de Transport Régional turboprops - and reduce its workforce by up to 25% or 450 people as it struggles to stem its financial hemorrhaging resulting from the COVID-19 caused downturn in travel.

As reported, the airline’s fleet comprises ten B737-800s and seven ATR72-600s, according to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module. It also has commitments for twelve B737-8s from undisclosed lessors.

CAL operates bases at both Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) and Kingston Norman Manley (Jamaica). According to the ch-aviation capacities module, CAL holds 8.42% market share at Kingston City Norman Manley International in terms of weekly airline seats, third in line after JetBlue Airways (B6, New York JFK) with 49.12% and American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) with 9.66%.

Questioned in the House of Representatives on June 23 on the calculations for the severance packages and when they would be paid, Imbert said legal processes were being followed. He said consultations were in progress, at the end of which, appropriate notice would be given to staff, and payments would be made within the legally prescribed period.

During a Senate hearing a day earlier, Imbert had indicated the estimated cost of the severance packages to be TTD110 million Trinidad dollars (USD16.1 million), the cost of which would be borne by the Ministry of Finance. The airline had begun the process of determining exactly how many employees would have to be retrenched, he said. Imbert said the streamlining measures were being put in place after consultation with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Amadeus Consulting.

CAL in its unaudited 1Q21 financial results posted a loss of TTD172.7 million (USD25.4 million) following a 75% decline in revenue over the same period in 2020. This followed an operating loss of TTD738 million (USD108.5 million) in 2020.