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Aviation veteran is new CAL CEO

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
CAL chairman Phillip Marshal, left, shakes hands with the airline’s new CEO Michael DiLollo after announcing his appointment at a media conference at Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre in Port-of-Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: SEAN NERO

Michael DiLollo, a 47-year-old Canadian, is the new CEO of Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL). The appointment, officially announced yesterday, comes several months after the sudden resignation of acting CEO Robert Corbie in September 2013. DiLollo, who was introduced at a news conference at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre in Port-of-Spain, took up duties at the state-owned carrier on Monday. 



In response to questions from reporters, he said a route analysis is being undertaken, so it would be premature to comment on the profitability of the airline’s London route. “Caribbean Airlines has already started a route analysis process to identify what is working, what isn’t working, where are the opportunities and most of all, how can we leverage the gauge of aircraft that we have,” he said, adding that there is need to “validate, assess, analyse and ultimately come up with the decisions.”


DiLollo has already met with CAL’s board and middle management and is due to meet with other employees later this week. The new CEO is taking up his appointment at a time when the airline is facing competition from JetBlue which entered the market offering lower fares on the New York and Fort Lauderdale routes. He hinted that CAL’s revenue may have dropped since the US carrier entered the market in late February.


“As you would expect whenever there is additional capacity that is put into a market by a very well capitalised company that has the assets and structure, typically they use pricing tactics and that ultimately drives revenue to the lower side. Whenever capacity is added it drives revenue down,” DiLollo said. “Not only are they well-capitalised, they are also extremely well-structured and efficient and their operating costs are nothing to sneeze at. It’s very competitive,” he said.


DiLollo said apart from the threats CAL faces externally, the airline also faces internal threats such as costs which “could perhaps be reconsidered.” “There are much bigger cost drivers inside an airline that are more related to how things are managed and how efficiently they are done that could render us more competitive in a very short period of time,” he said.


CAL chairman Philip Marshall said  DiLollo was chosen after an “extensive search” and was “the outstanding choice in terms of his combination of leadership, governance, technical, and communication skills.” Commenting briefly on the financial state of the airline, Marshall said the 2010 and 2011 audits have been completed and have been submitted to the Ministry of Finance. He said the overall finances of the airline had substantially improved over 2012.


DiLollo served as president of Transat Tours Canada, the business unit of Transat AT, Inc, from November 2009 to September 2011. He had been with Transat since 1991 and served as an executive vice president of TTC, Transat A T Inc, at Air Transat AT Inc from November 2008. Prior to that, he was senior vice president of Technical Operations and Customer Service for Air Transat. He is an Airbus A330 captain and has considerable and diverse experience in the aviation industry. 


He served as vice president of Airline Operations at Medatlantica Group was a director of Nav Canada from April 24, 2013. DiLollo is a graduate of Queen’s University in Business Administration.


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