One of the means by which the success of a company can be measured is in its ability to retain a large number of workers throughout the growth years, and at 25-plus Caribbean Aircraft Handling (CAH) can claim to be in the category of firms with such an achievement.
Now in its 26th year, CAH last night honoured 137 of its over 300-strong workforce for being with this air travel ground handling service for periods stretching from ten to just over 25 years.
This high retainment of long-term service employees prompted Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy to declare during the awards ceremony held on the lawns of St Ann’s Fort, Barbados Defence Force headquarters, that CAH is “considered a place to work.
“People want to work at CAH because of the determination to invest in staff,” he said.
A subsidiary of Caribbean International Airways ltd, CAH, a wholly-owned Government entity, had its beginnings in 1992 with approximately 40 staff performing ground handling services for LIAT and American Airlines.
In the words of Chairman of the Board of Directors Lindell Nurse, it “has grown to become the leading ground handling service provider at Grantley Adams International Airport with six scheduled carriers and other ad hoc businesses, and employing over 300 staff dedicated to providing high quality service”.
Sealy said that after 25 plus years CAH “can legitimately claim to have one of the strongest reputations for being an excellent ground handling company, not only in Barbados, but in the wider Caribbean.
“In many respects Caribbean Aircraft Handling and its near 400 staff complement is a fine example … providing what is needed for people to embark and disembark aircraft and nobody even knows the amount of effort that goes in to allowing the planes to land and take off on time, most of the time.”
He told the staff who braved persistent rain to assemble under a tent for the celebration, “you provide an essential service to this country”.
Noting that tourism was the predominant industry in this island that has no significant mineral extractive industries, the minister spoke to the gathering of the “importance you play in feeding this country because we don’t have much else besides tourism”.
“I have to offer that ‘thank you’ on behalf of a grateful nation . . . . You are on the frontline of feeding this nation . . . the people who are grinding out in the back room.”
Meantime, Nurse commended long-service staff “for laying a solid foundation of service on which this Caribbean aircraft company has developed and grown”.
Nurse said that CAH’s ground handling services comprise, “a variety of activities carried out before and after a flight to ensure the smooth processing of passengers, baggage, cargo, mail and other materials which have been transported by air”.
He said, “given the company’s record of service to the airline industry and by extension contribution to the Barbados tourism product we can be justly proud of its achievements”.