BWIA chairman: Line in 'severe cash crunch'

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- "The day of reckoning" is upon BWIA, declared chairman Lawrence Duprey, who warned the Trinidad and Tobago airline faces "a severe cash crunch, threatening its very existence."

The airline posted a second-quarter loss of $8.2 million, which it blamed in part on low fares that had to be charged to match competitors.

In a lengthy written statement Sept. 18, Duprey said the airline needs new cost-saving agreements with its employees by Oct. 31 "in order to have sufficient time to reorganize and restructure to save the airline, or the airline's fate will be in the hands of its creditors."

He said the airline already is "seriously overdue" in payments to aircraft lessors and major suppliers.

BWIA said it has set a target of $1 million in monthly savings, one-third to come from employee costs and the rest from items such reduced channel of distribution expenditures; lower catering bills; and decreased airport landing, terminal and handling charges.

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