If the Boeing 737 aircraft being leased by government to complement Cariibbean Airlines (CAL) fleet cannot be certified as airworthy, then the money paid upfront will be refunded.
So said acting Prime Minister and Finance Minister Colm Imbert in the Senate, yesterday, during the debate of the Evidence (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
Questioned by Opposition Senator Saddam Hosein about the procurement of the aircraft, Imbert said in December 2018, CAL executed leased agreements with Tous Les Halles for operating leases for a total of 12 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft to replace current fleet of 737 aircraft which range in age from eight to 20 years.
In March 2019, aviation regulators and airlines around the world grounded all Boeing 737 Max passenger airliners after two Max 8 aircraft crashed, killing the 346 people aboard.
The ban by several countries comes after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash which resulted in the death of all 157 people on board. The Boeing 737 Max 8 plane was also involved in a fatal Lion Air flight in which 189 passengers were killed. An investigation has been launched into the accidents.
Imbert said subsequent to the two accidents, CAL has been in constant contact with Tous Les Halles and Boeing to be fully apprised of developments and findings as regulatory investigations take place in terms of the status of the agreement to lease Max 8 aircraft.
"This agreement is subject to the leasors providing all approval documentation and certification of airworthiness from the Federal Aviation Administration which has not yet approved. If the aircraft are not certified as airworthy, then CAL will be under no obligation to accept them or pay for them. In the interim, CAL has made arrangements to extend the leases of its current fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft as and when required to ensure the smooth continuity of its flight operation.