the national airline shuts down on December 31 after 66 years of
operations. This is the second in a series of first person employee
is my 28th year of flying as a pilot for BWIA and I feel relief at its
impending closure. The consensus is let them fix it or shut it down, make
a clean break and restart on a clean slate.
30 years BWIA survived from hand out to hand out. BWIA faced receivership
in 2000 when bills were unpaid and two aircraft were impounded in Miami.
Government plugged in life support, and there we’ve stayed ever since.
the intervening six years, employees have been living under the hammer
with the threat of closure, no increases in salaries and no improved
staff has attained a high standard in operations, maintenance, and flight
attendants. It’s a tragedy that BWIA in its latter years operated in
such a way to drive away pilots and maintenance personnel who are now
gracing the cockpits and hangers of big airlines like Virgin, Emirates and
pilots are paid nowhere near international rates and earn about half of
what Air Jamaica and Cayman Airways pilots earn.
comes Arthur Lok Jack with straight talk at last.
runs a bloated establishment compared with modern airlines. A model—low
waste, well-run streamlined airline carriers have approximately 80 to 110
employees per aircraft. BWIA has nine aircraft with 1,600 employees. We
probably clear tons of rainforests with administrative paperwork.
accounts and bosses knock off work at three in the afternoon. My heart
bleeds for traffic reservations staff and flight crew with the kind of
overtime and abuse they have to take.
don’t question what happened but how. There isn’t any malice in Arthur
Lok Jack and the board towards employees. It was a difficult but correct
decision. My beef is how BWIA management has gone about it.
new company can’t start by January 1, 2007 without a high level of
the time people in control are holding you at arms length, playing their
cards close to their chest, not answering questions, telling you ‘Leave
the management to us’ you create massive anxiety.
management brings negotiations to a halt by offering workers a package
they know is going to be unacceptable you start to suspect that the
stalling is deliberate and that they are playing for time.
BWIA has never made money there is plenty money to be made off BWIA. Few
people in management have not benefited one way or another.
Air Line (CAL) is to be a scaled back lean and mean machine with a cut
back fleet of five or six. BWIA has committed to putting up guidance
hotlines for a thousand people who are not going to be rehired including
40 per cent of pilots.
small country’s safety record is enviable in the world of flying, almost
equal to the big Australian airline Qantas, which is touted having a 100
per cent safety record. We’ve never lost an aircraft or passenger. This
has to do with Talpa (T&T Airline Pilots Association). Ours is the
most regulated profession in the world. Left to management the safety
envelope would have been pushed to the limit. If CAL operates without
Talpa I can’t guarantee that the current safety record will hold.
for BWIA has kept me here for 29 years. There’s pride in strapping up
and carrying your folks to their destination.”
week: Former manager speaks up.