TRINIDAD – CAL ending London route
PORT OF SPAIN –– The state-owned Caribbean Airlines (CAL) says it will be ending its three weekly flights to London early next year because it is not profitable.
In a statement, CAL said in addition to stop servicing the route in the first quarter of 2016, it would also be retiring the Boeing 767s from its fleet.
The London service was launched in 2012; however the route performed below expectations. CAL said that the Boeing 767-300s would be returned to the International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC).
The airline, which registered a loss of US$60 million last year, said it is taking measures to suspend loss-making routes and optimize its fleet and so far this year returned two Boeing 737-800s, with two more to be removed soon, reducing the fleet size to just 12 of that model.
CAL said the move would allow it to reduce operational costs while focusing on its North American prime routes –– Fort Lauderdale, New York and Toronto –– and allowing it to compete harder for the budget-wise leisure travellers on these routes.
Since 2013, CAL has been competing with increased competition from low-budget airlines such as Jet Blue and increased flights by American mainline airlines.
In February, Minister of Finance Larry Howai told legislators that the unaudited accounts showed a loss of US$60 million and that the airline had developed a strategy plan which envisaged it breaking even by 2017.
Howai said the transformation of CAL would take three to four years following a consistent company strategy to achieve identified objectives with major milestones targeted during this period. He said this strategy plan was recently developed and completed towards the end of last year.