Today’s Editorial for June 1: The death of 1,000 cuts

Our readers will have noticed two
front-page stories last week that concerned financial difficulties at Cayman’s
national air carrier.

The first story recounted Cayman
Airways missing out on additional revenue in a cargo-hauling arrangement that
was apparently not authorised by senior management when it was signed in 2008.

The second detailed the airline’s
approach of allowing customers that owed tens of thousands of dollars to run up
further debts to the airline – to the point where CAL was unable to collect
some of them.

The report that revealed these two
situations also recounted about a dozen or so other areas where Cayman Airways
was either not collecting revenues, or was missing out on new opportunities to
make money.

We simply don’t have the space here
to explore each of these adequately, but Cayman Free Press may do so later in a
separate publication.

Taken individually, no one instance
outlined in the audit is responsible for the financial position CAL finds
itself in today.

But as a whole, the report paints a
picture of a disorganised, even confused business environment where chances to
earn extra cash went out the door while the company got ripped off by outside
interests.

The airline’s acting CEO Fabian
Whorms recently noted that while Cayman Airways has succeeded in cutting its
costs this year, its revenues have continued to slide.

Mr. Whorms also pointed out that
the airline has seen five chief executives in the last five or six years.

In short, CAL has been left to the
winds of political fancy and is suffering the death of 1,000 little cuts. It
has not been run like a business, and now of all times, it definitely needs to
be.

The Miller Commission Report’s
suggestion to privatise the national air carrier has largely been laughed off
by government interests, at least behind the scenes when the press isn’t
around.

But we have to say that the way CAL
has been run in recent years is no laughing matter. Cayman Airways may never
actually make money, but it shouldn’t be losing as much as it is now.

1 COMMENT

  1. I am the former owner of Island Air, and as is well know my company was forced out off the inter Island commuter service by the Goverment subsidised CAl. Until the Gulf war 1, followed by 9/11 we used to make a reasonable profit, but many applications to the Air Transport Authority for an increase in ticket price because of fuel and Insurance cost increases were turned down until it became inoperable. Government thought they could do better, and I believe that the inter Island service is now costing taxpayers millions a year in losses! The Government has never appointed a Caymanian businessman as Chairman who happens to know how to run
    an airline and make money. Instead we get a series Lawyers, Accountants and others who are totalling out of touch. CAL will die as a result, unless it is sold of for a US$1.00 to a private operator!
    Sincerely,
    Mervyn Cumber

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