Last update: 11-Dec-2013 10:53 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Howai gets new plan from CAL
Chairman of the board of Caribbean Airlines (CAL) Philip Marshall yesterday presented Finance and the Economy Minister Larry Howai with its proposed new business plan. Howai, while attending the 27th meeting of the bureau of the conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, issued a brief statement on the report at Tower D, Office of the Parliament, International Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain.
He said he was intending to get a preliminary overview but because of the Heads of Government meeting he was only now receiving the report. He said the technocrats in the ministry would receive the document and then a subsequent meeting would be held with the board after which questions would then be answered on the new business plan. The meeting is expected to be held within the next two weeks.
During his budget presentation last Monday, Howai announced the removal of CAL’s fuel subsidy for international flights but later announced a $400 million injection into the airline which would facilitate its restructuring. Howai also said in his presentation the airline must move toward a financially sound business model for positioning the airline in targeted segments of the global tourism market.
PM of St Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves, at a press conference after the Heads of Government meeting, thanked PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar for the removal of the subsidy. Gonsalves said it was well-known that the subsidy was contrary to the multi-lateral and service agreement under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. “The subsidy has been removed so there is now a level playing field,” he said.
Gonsalves said of the $400 million injection into CAL: “Clearly, the injection of equity to capitalise an airline would not be a prohibitive subsidy under the multi-lateral and service agreement under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.” The leaders of the Governments of the Caribbean islands also agreed to the establishment of a Transportation Commission comprised of member states of T&T, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Surinam and Antigua, Dominica and Bahamas, all owners of airlines within the region.
“We also want this Transportation Commission to look at maritime transport as well,” Persad-Bissessar said. An Economic Commission will also be established, Persad-Bissessar added.
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