BWIA Staff Willing to Help

BWIA, Trinidad and Tobagoå‘s national airline, says it is confident that an agreement with its staff for the viable restructuring plan of the airline would be established before the October 31 deadline set by its Board of Directors.

In a statement, BWIA said that staff members had showed interest in the re-organisation plan by volunteering suggestions on cost savings measures and offering pledges of sacrifice to save the airline.

Earlier this month the airline’s chairman Lawrence Duprey said BWIA expects to lose an estimated TT80.7 million dollars (US13 million dollars) in 2002 as it continues to suffer the effects of the terrorist attacks in the United States in September last year.

Duprey said the airline’s half-year results reflected the industry’s condition in general “where most full service airlines are sustaining losses and suffering liquidity problems.”

BWIA said that as of June this year, its consolidated net loss for the year to date stood at TT54.34 million dollars (US8.68 million dollars) as compared to a net profit of TT6.04 million dollars (US0.96 million dollars) for the first six months of 2001.


The airline also announced that it was making redundant 40 pilots as it reduced its fleet to two types, and made altenative arrangements on some of its feeder routes. Senior management had alredy volunteered to take paycuts of 5%.

Chief Executive Officer Conrad Aleong told a news conference last week that he had taken a seven percent cut in salary while executive management had agreed to a five percent cut. The Board of Directors also took a decision to reduce their fees by 10 percent, he added.

In its statement, BWIA said that it recently hosted a “Teleday” where members of staff were allowed to speak individually with Aleong and that “many of the staffers used the opportunity to offer their own suggestions on saving the airline.”

The statement quoted Chief Financial Officer Paul Schultz as saying that “the response has been tremendous and ideas are coming in from all departments and the mood of the staff is very encouraging.”

“With the initiatives being actively considered, we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he added.
The statement said that union representatives have been meeting with management and are expected to present “concession packages” to their membership[ for voting later this week.

BWIA said that bookings continue to come in as travellers plan their winter travel trips, but has described the bookings “up to this point” as being “lower than average.”