The Government is expected to announce the appointment of
a task force to oversee operations at BWIA during todays
post-Cabinet press briefing.
Sources said the five-member task force is headed by businessman
Arthur Lok Jack.
Other members are said to be William Lucie-Smith, retired
senior partner of PriceWaterhouseCoopers; Gervase Warner,
Neal and Massy director; Dr Shafeek Sultan-Khan, industrial
relations consultant and economist Terrence Farrell.
Government sources said the task force had been given a
time frame of five weeks to review the airlines operations
and report to Cabinet.
are looking at everything and will report directly to the
Sources said the task force, which has been operating for
the past two to three weeks, was looking at three options:
n The consequences of shutting down the airline
n Shutting down the airline and starting afresh
The task force, sources said, was also looking at how to
maintain air links if T&T did not have an airline and
to evaluate BWIAs route structure.
may include discontinuing certain routes, a Government
Among the routes on the chopping board, sources said, were
BWIAs proposed flights to Prestwick in Scotland and
Belfast in Ireland.
When contacted by telephone yesterday, Lok Jack said he
was in a meeting and would not be able to take the call.
He suggested that the Guardian call him back today.
BWIAs line Minister, Trade and Industry Minister Kenneth
Valley, and Public Administration and Information Minister
Dr Lenny Saith were also said to be in meetings when calls
were made to their respective offices.
A source said it was highly unlikely that Lok
Jack would be taking up the position of BWIAs CEO,
or that the airlines board would be replaced by members
of the task force.
In addition to reviewing the airlines operations,
the task force, a source said, might have also been given
a directive to set up a holding company for the airline.
Saith, chairman of a Cabinet sub-committee to review BWIAs
strategic plan, said all would be revealed today.
A report, submitted to the Government last year by the New
York-based consultants Simat, Hellisen and Eichner (SH&E),
said the shutdown of BWIA would result in a significant
loss of air service for the nation.
a modest reduction in service would adversely impact the
airlines currently strong competitive position, weaken
its image in the travel agency community, which will adversely
impact demand for its services and would have a significant
impact on the national economy, the report said.
According to the airlines strategic plan, as of January,
2005, BWIA became insolvent.
It also said the airline needed an injection of US$109 million
to attain a safe financial position.