BWIA 772 From Barbados, joined May 2002, 2200 posts, RR: 2 Posted (11 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 1554 times:
Those who are familiar with the airline BWIA knows that the airline in on the brink of bankruptcy and has to cut cost by a further US$ 1 million or go into the hands of creditors.
The Prime Minster has acknowledge that the airline approached the government (49% share holder) before the genral elections October 7th, but because their was an election at hand the government could not have done this. The matter will be dealt with.
One can assume that this will be done next week as the Budget is to be presented on Monday.
The questions that seem to arise are:
Will there be a change in the managment in the airline?
Will the state increase its share in the airline?
BWIA 772 From Barbados, joined May 2002, 2200 posts, RR: 2 Reply 1, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 1458 times:
The following is a link to the Trinidad EXpress news paper. The article basically states that BWIA must see the government as the first call when it is in financial assistant and that the country does not need a national airline in order to survive.
9Y-ISA From Trinidad and Tobago, joined May 2001, 221 posts, RR: 1 Reply 4, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 1348 times:
From the Trinidad Guardian (Editorial Section):
Welcome to the real world, BWIA
If the new Patrick Manning administration has any stars in its eyes, it’s not because of fresh infatuation with that old sweetheart called BWIA.
On Wednesday, Trade and Industry Minister Ken Valley confirmed the end of an affair.
“We don’t need BWIA at all costs,” he said. “We need an airline. We cannot continue to be the first port of call. We will watch, and if they try, we may help. But if they want to go into receivership who are we?”
The “we” here means the Manning Government with its electoral mandate to manage the country’s resources effectively.
It might also refer, however, to a national mood shaped by a growing sense of BWIA rescue fatigue.
From the Valley-Acker divestment fiasco in the 1990s, through the “golden share” hopes that turned to brass, to the loss-making IPO of the new millennium, BWIA viability has been the non-stop object of fresh initiative.
September 11, 2001, ruinous for bigger airlines, may now be fatal for BWIA.
The airline, which has received help from Barbados, and is trying to help itself, can no longer automatically count on a T&T sugar daddy for a US$13 million bailout.
T&T does not need BWIA even to grow its tourism. “Ask Barbados,” Mr Valley said.
“(They) do not have a national airline but they have developed a healthy tourism industry.”
His AmCham listeners might have thought BWIA had long lost the “national airline” special status. But they could not doubt Mr Valley was speaking from the heart – one no longer bleeding for the plight of BWIA.
Mr Manning later reaffirmed that the Government was prepared only to be the “lender of last resort”. If asked politely, the Government may lift a finger to save it from airline poorhouse, or even the cemetery.
But the days are over when a Government, assuming untiring public support, would readily open its financial arms to keep BWIA flying. The airline has lost its hold on unqualified T&T love and loyalty.
Messrs Manning and Valley confirm the fall from grace of that glamour girl of state-enterprise investment – the flygirl.
What is dowdy country cousin, Caroni 1975 Ltd, to expect?
The T&T Government thinks it needs BWIA like it needs a hole in the pocket.
“BWIA used to cost the Government some $100 million per annum,” Mr Valley recalled, suggesting no interest in going back there.
Welcome to the real world, BWIA. Happily, Clint Williams, the BWIA communicator, was not waiting to be told. “That’s the reality of the world,” he said. “The airline has to demonstrate...that it can be viable.”
Here’s hoping other BWIA workers and managers agree – and that their Caroni Ltd cousins are reading the writing on the Twin Towers wall.
BWIA 772 From Barbados, joined May 2002, 2200 posts, RR: 2 Reply 5, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 1316 times:
Is there anyone in this forum that can give the managment fiasco that has plague the airline since it was nationalised in the 1960s. When Trinidad was a wash with money was any of hat invested into BWIA to make it Viable or any grand plans that never happened?
So it looks that when the counrty might become a wash with the oil/gas money what will be done clearly not nationalisation again??
9Y-ISA From Trinidad and Tobago, joined May 2001, 221 posts, RR: 1 Reply 6, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 1254 times:
Hey BWIA772...I thought you said if PNM wins election, it would be good for BWIA? I guess BWIA is now on its own seeing how the "mighty" PNM would not give them anything. Do you have any comments about that?
I just finished my pilot training and now i'm ready to hit the job market and like many Trinis, BWIA was my #1 choice. Wow, that is what you call bad timing eh...but with that in mine, you can't show a bad face to the PNM government. They are absolutely right. It happen many time in the past. BWIA screws up, government bails them out. It was a matter of time that stops. On behalf of my fellow Trinidadian citzens, the tax payer's dollars should not go to bail out BWIA anytime a bunch of idiots run it to the ground. As much as I love BWIA and is one of my personal dreams to fly for them, they have to learn it the hard way.
Mr. Ken Valley made a good point also...the new identity of the airline don't have a T&T flag on it anymore and claiming to be not a Trinidad and Tobago airline but a Caribbean Airline...so why don't you go to the other islands for support, don't only come to them!!!
I really hope BWIA pulls through this one as this is the worst I've ever seen them.
Trintocan From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2000, 3211 posts, RR: 4 Reply 7, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 1257 times:
BWIA - a long and difficult story indeed. BWIA was formed in 1940 as a BOAC (now BA) subsidiary and twice came close to breaking even during the first 20 years of its existence. However, in the late 1950s BWIA's losses mounted as it took on some long over-water routes (eg Trinidad-Jamaica-Nassau-Bermuda-New York) on behalf of BOAC, then was forced to drop them when BOAC brought in Bristol Britannia planes. With BWIA being seen as a possible challenger to BOAC for the international route rights of the then-existent West Indian Federation, BOAC planned to shut it down in 1961 but the T&T Government stepped in and saved it by buying 90% of it. (Ironically the Federation collapsed in that same year as Jamaica withdrew.) The T&T Government later bought the remaining 10% from BOAC (I am not sure what year that was, possibly 1964). With BWIA firmly in Trinidadian hands it shifted its focus from the northern Caribbean and eventually the Jamaican government took over BWIA's Jamaica base and, with help from BWIA itself and later Air Canada, formed Air Jamaica.
BWIA was still not profitable though and while in the 1970s it made some changes (ie stopping service to Tobago and several other islands and replacing the 727s with 707s in 1971 to increase capacity and introduce newer routes to YYZ and LGW, later LHR) it continued to lose money. By 1973, however, with the oil boom going strong the Government had no problem supporting it. So BW, while it actually grew and expanded services and equipment (a good thing), it also was involved with considerable corruption, including a massively over-financed deal to buy a DC-9-51 back in 1980. Loyal friends of the State got perks and places in the company and its competitiveness was low - it was always late, severe overbooking and so on - but in those days it was not seen as a major problem, as many other airlines served Trinidad and flew regional sectors on their international routes so, if say BW had a delayed flight between POS and BGI, one could go over to the AA or EA (Eastern) counter and get on their flight instead without hassle (unlike now!)
After 1981, though, the fall in the oil economy meant that T&T's economy was in recession. Many companies closed down and many lost their jobs. BW was largely spared the pains of the public sector because of its importance to the State (it was still fully State-owned then) and while the Government tried to invite the other island states to participate in it, it was always turned down. By the late 80s though BW's state was very precarious and in order to keep going it decided to sell 3 of its 4 TriStars to lessors and lease them back - the 4th TriStar was later also sold and leased back. To some extent that decision was mainly due to the State's financial insolvency at the time but it clearly reflected BW's being part of the problem.
The decision to privatize BW was long and hard in coming but it finally occurred in the early 90s. By this time several routes had been dropped and the fleet rationalised to the 4 TriStars and 9 MD83s. BW was privatized in 1994 with Ed Acker put in charge. Acker, however, added to the airline's problems by trying some radical restyling, introduction of Airbuses (not a bad thing in itself but the new planes were incompatible with BW's fleet at the time and the departure of Acker left the 2 A321s delivered as orphans, now rehoused in Turkey) and starting a rather ill-conceived route to Sao Paulo. Financial impropriety was also part of the problem and so when Acker was sacked the company was in a bad state. The subsequent management under Ken Gordon tried to clean up matters and indeed made significant headway in getting the airline back on track - until Gordon left after he was curiously labelled "pseudo-racist" by the then Prime Minister over an unrelated issue (which led to libel suits!). Enter Conrad Aleong at that point.
Aleong has run BWIA for the last few years with one interruption when he went to ALM in Curacao (I cannot recall the name of the Chairman who stood in between). Under him some good things have occurred, such as the new fleet of 737-800s, the Bwee Express regional service (although controversial because of BW's shareholding in LIAT with whom Bwee Express competed) and route reorganization. BW declared profits in 1999 and tried the IPO in 2000 to generate more revenue - but many in the know felt that BW's shares would not do well. They were proved right as the shared plummeted after being launched on the Stock Exchange. There seemed to be irregularities with the accounting and the valuation of its assets.
As for now, the accounting is part of the problem with BWee. Add to it the effects of 11/9/2001, the problems with operating its old fleet (TriStars in particular), the need to cut down the thick staff levels it has always had since the 70s in particular and the fact that it has cornered itself badly by going avidly after the VFR market to Trinidad, Guyana and Barbados while ignoring the tourist market which offers far more profit. Even at home in Tobago BW has been clearly run out of the tourist trade by BA, Condor and Monarch with Virgin coming soon.
So that's the story of BWIA - many difficult times indeed but in some instances politics and poor management have been at the heart of its woes. Hopefully it can be saved. In fact, it is likely it will be saved by the State if it were needed - the State may deny it up-front but behind it all they have pride to play for and would not let BW go under. If they did then Trinidad and Tobago would basically be left for Air Jamaica to take over - not entirely an easy pill to swallow, given the nature of Caricom relations.
AWspicious From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 8, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 1246 times:
When T'dad was awash in gas and oil money, much of it was filtered out of the island to fund lavish and personal schemes of some rather bright individuals. Trinis here in Toronto can be reminded of that by driving along the 401 near McCowan.
I tend to agree with you - BWIA manishly walked out of the T&T home, now that it finds it's self in trouble, it comes back homing that ma and pa Trini will bail it out. Interesting, isn't it? You don's see Air Canada calling it's self "The airline of North America". Why does/did BWIA feel spread it's self so thin. Imagine... Making a foreign island (not your homeland) your main hub! I gues it's true - Money talks and bullshit walks.
I hope they get out of this mess. I still have to fly on one of those 37-8s
BWIA 772 From Barbados, joined May 2002, 2200 posts, RR: 2 Reply 9, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1227 times:
I was wrong. I understand where they are coming from. I would hate to see BWIA to become a lost cause but it seems that way.
The airline has concentrated on the Trinidad market so although it manishly walked out it is the only place where the airline is a strong force to be messed with. BWIA can go to Jamaica but Jm cant go to Trinidad.
The current position BWIA is in has been created by it past and present managers for making decisions that were not in the airline's interest but for themselves and this goes for the governments as well.
Inbound From Trinidad and Tobago, joined Sep 2001, 845 posts, RR: 2 Reply 10, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1203 times:
I have to agree with 9Y-ISA and TrintoCan on this one.
As much as I would like to see the successful and profitable continuation of the airline, I firmly believe the government is doing the right thing.
It is unfair to the public that the Gov't constantly bails out such a large company due to failure of management.
Hopefully they will use this as an opportunity to get rid of some of the parasites at the top, and stop fattening a certain "CA International" account in the Grand Cayman.
Next thursday is their judgement day, and the unions have already pull together their own strategy to put towards the government if they are not satisfied with whatever concessions management comes up with.
$13M US is a lot less than I thought they needed from the government.
I can safely say they will get the money if they shape up on Thursday.
And somebody better make an issue of returning the Trinidad and Tobago Flag back into the paint scheme.