The government of Trinidad and Tobago is demanding an immediate shake-up of the BWIA management it was announce yesterday, the same day International Leasing Finance Corporation (ILFC) released two seized aircraft to the airline.
“As a condition for the injection of capital into the airline, the board of directors of BWIA will be asked to make immediate changes to the company’s management,” Prime Minister Patrick Manning told reporters at the post-Cabinet news conference.
Asked whether BWIA chief executive Conrad Aleong would be included in the management changes, Manning said, “To me it is not a personal thing, and it never is and never will be.”
Planning Minister Keith Rowley stated that ILFC has promised not to seize any other planes for the next four months.
And Manning disclosed the Government has commissioned a due diligence report to establish BWIA’s financial circumstances. That report, to be conducted by Zwaig Consultants, should be completed in three weeks.
Manning said at the end of three weeks, “we will then discuss at the appropriate levels of the airline, the way forward including the structure and composition of the board of directors.”
Last week, ILFC seized two of its Boeing 737-800s and threatened to seize the three other 737s and one A340 it leases to the airline if it did not receive a US$5.5 million payment on its outstanding lease payments by Tuesday.
Yesterday morning, Rowley and junior Finance Minister Christine Sahadeo convinced senior ILFC executives to release the seized aircraft and hold off on any further seizures until September 30.
Rowley said Government does not expect to have to bail out BWIA again as it will have its fleet intact for the crucial summer season.
Rowley and Sahadeo met for two-and-a-half hours with ILFC’s president John Plueger, vice chairman Allen Hlund and executive vice president Julie I Sackman at the Eric Williams Financial Complex.
ILFC also agreed to withdraw its demand that BWIA enter into a US court and accept judgement against it for outstanding monies.