The state-owned Caribbean Airlines (CAL) has received an estimated three billion dollars in subsidies since 2011, Finance Minister Colm Imbert has said.
Responding to a question posed by Opposition Chief Whip Dr David Lee in the Parliament on Friday, Imbert said that the government gives a subsidy of TT$50 per adult seat for CAL’s Tobago airbridge.
He said the airline had benefited from subsidies in recent years from both the former People’s Partnership government and the present Keith Rowley administration. He said the subsidies also applied to other routes operated by CAL.
According to Imbert in 2011, CAL received TT$243 million comprising TT$136 million in subsidies and TT$106 million in transfers, while in 2012, the airline benefitted from TT$1.139 billion, made up of TT$412 million in loan guarantees and TT$726 million in subsidies.
Imbert said that in 2013, CAL got TT$860 million, comprising TT$413 million in loan guarantees and TT$477 million in subsidies, while in the following year, it received one billion dollars consisting of TT$140 million in subsidies and TT$859 million in transfers.
The Finance Minister told legislators that for 2015, the state-owned airline was given TT$655 million and last year it received TT$481 million.
Imbert said that steps are now being taken to make CAL self-sufficient with the implementation of cost-relevant strategies, revenue enhancement aimed at a break-even position, developing a strong brand for CAL and building the necessary corporate culture.