Caribbean Airlines, in its first quarter of 2020, especially January and February, surpassed its previous year (2019) performance, setting a successful period of performance, prior to the impact of Covid-19 in March.

Caribbean’s earnings before interest and taxes increased by 2.5 percent or $662.5k TTD with revenues increasing by 5.3 percent or $21.8m TTD. This increase in revenues was resultant from better passenger numbers of 5.8 percent or 21,112; and cargo services have continued to operate throughout the year.

Figures for March or Q1 overall have not been stated due to the abnormal impact of the lockdown. Marina Chase, chief financial officer, said: “The first two months of 2020 were very encouraging, with load factors and overall performance for the period trending better than 2019, which itself was a strong year for Caribbean Airlines. The Airline was well poised for another great year prior to the advent of Covid-19.”

Covid-19 has impacted airlines and air travel globally with Caribbean Airlines being no exception. The airline continues to manage its financial and operational situation on a short-term basis. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has guaranteed a US $66.5m loan to the airline, to assist in alleviating some of the cash-flow shortfall originating from the lockdown and global economic impact. This loan is currently being arranged with financial institutions and will be repaid out of future income.

From the onset of 2020, the airline maintained a firm approach to cost management and with the technology implemented in 2019, such as the Mobile App and products like Caribbean Explorer and Caribbean Vacations, customers can more easily customise their travel.

Branded fares offered more choice and greater flexibility, allowing customers to pay only for the amenities they need. These are just some of the elements that would have contributed to increased passenger demand. Additionally, new cargo interline partners expanded the airline’s network for freight shipping and handling.