Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) is willing to meet with officials of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) amidst mounting complaints about the service the airline provides between Trinidad and Tobago. This comes as the THA said yesterday in a statement that the minority leaders who were present at the sitting of the assembly voted with the majority to support the motion moved by the Tourism and Transportation Secretary Assemblyman, Oswald Williams to record their disapproval of the quality of service provided by CAL. In response, Chairman Rabindra Moonan said the airline is always concerned about the airbridge and CAL has an obligation to service it and “we (CAL’s management) will be willing to meet with the officials of the THA to find out in more detail, what are their concerns. All I have read so far is what has been reported in the newspapers,” he said in an interview with the Guardian.
Moonan added: “It is not that we are unmindful and it is not that we are not doing anything to service the airbridge. I don’t know what more the THA would require of us but I want to reiterate that I am willing and available to meet with them and see what sort of arrangements we could work out.” While not wanting to specifically pinpoint what is the root of the problem, Moonan said insufficient money is not causing the inefficiencies being experienced on the airbridge. But he said that one area that needs to be improved is the system for ticketing. “What we have found and what we are reviewing is the ticketing system. A lot of people book flights and they don’t turn up and (instead) they turn up on other flights and then you have these standby passengers. “We are now reviewing the system whereby there would be some degree of compliance when people travel. In other areas (territories) when you do not fly there is a penalty attached to re-booking, we don’t want to reach there, but the point is that, we must have some discipline when people book and fly according to the schedule,” he said.
According to Moonan, demand for Tobago as a destination has increased. “In 2011, we offered the airbridge 885,000 seats and that was up from 741,000 in 2010. So far for this year, we have been keeping that average and we expect that it may go over the 885,000 this year.” Moonan added that the airline is determined to improve the service which CAL provides. “We would want to be at a situation where we would have the least complaints, but that is something which is a work-in-progress. In any airline throughout the world it doesn’t have something called perfection but, you can strive toward perfection. Asked if he plans to write to the THA secretary, Orville London, Moonan said: “I have been having meetings with various organisations in Tobago. It was only last week, through the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Transport and the stakeholders in Tobago, like the Tobago Chamber of Commerce, the hoteliers Association and other interest groups have been letting us know their concerns. I am telling them what we are doing and it is a work-in-progress and we hope much sooner than later that we will be able to satisfy all the needs and demands of the Tobago people,” Moonan said.