Caribbean Airlines lost more than a quarter of a billion dollars flying the London route between June 2012 and January 2016, according to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
Rowley was speaking in the Parliament on Wednesday on a motion to vest the assets of Petrotrin into three companies which will comprise the restructured entity.
In responding to the Opposition’s position that it would not have shut down the State-owned refinery, Rowley made reference to Caribbean Airlines’ London route.
“Because we closed the London route and they knew all about how bad it was, and an inquiry had to go on, they went back to fly to London to prove that they were different,” Rowley stated.
According to the PM, “it didn’t cost them one cent because they all left as millionaires, but it cost the taxpayers of Trinidad and Tobago TT$260 million.”
Rowley said in June 2012, two aircraft were acquired at a cost of US$4.6m but could not be used because the planes could not be certified.
He says the Boeing 767 aircraft that were eventually used on the transatlantic route cost US$12.1m.
Rowley challenged Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to make available the findings of the investigation into the sale of this country’s Heathrow slots in 2006.
In March 2011, Persad-Bissessar announced that her administration will conduct a probe into the sale of the BWIA terminal slots for TT$60m.
“To this day, I have never heard about the outcome of that investigation,” Rowley said.
Last month, Caribbean Airlines reported its unaudited financial results for the nine months ended September 30, 2018, which shows the airline has moved into an operating profit and is net income positive for the year-to-date.
Year-to-date total revenues showed a 15 per cent year-on-year improvement of TT$291 m.