State-owned carrier Caribbean Airlines said Tuesday that the global COVID-19 pandemic had negatively impacted its earnings in 2020, leaving it with a more than US$109 million operating loss.
The airline announced its unaudited financial results for the year to the end of December 2020, which showed an operating loss (Earnings Before Interest &Taxes – EBIT) of TT$738 million (US$109.2 million) on revenue of TT$802 million (US$118.6 million).
“The first two months of 2020 continued our upward trajectory of the previous three years and the next phase of our strategic plan was commencing strongly. However, COVID-19 has taken a sledgehammer to international travel and tourism for the past 10 months and our financial results for last year fully reflect this new reality,” said Garvin Medera, CEO of Caribbean Airlines.
The 2020 results were in stark comparison to 2019, which saw a positive EBIT of TT$76 million (US$11.2 million) on revenue of TT$3 billion (US$440 million) for the 12-month period.
Operating expenses for 2020 were TT$1.54 billion (US$228 million), 47 per cent lower than 2019 due to fewer flights and strict cost controls.
Despite the pandemic and reduced flying, Medera said, Caribbean Airlines managed to add new destinations to its network and expanded its cargo offerings to include charter services.
“We also provided support through repatriation flights for a number of Caribbean nations and resumed operations in some destinations outside of Trinidad and Tobago where borders are open,” he said.