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Friday 6 December 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Vindication of CAL’s CEO appointment

Photo courtesy Pixabay
Photo courtesy Pixabay

THE EDITOR: The recent announcement by Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) of a $121 million surplus before interest and taxes for the first nine months of 2019 is a vindication of Garvin Medera’s appointment as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the airline.

Medera was appointed the CEO of CAL in October 2017, which prompted speculation by the naysayers that he was unsuitable for the position, primarily because he had no prior airline or aviation experience.

Such a perception is a myth as many successful airlines, such as EasyJet, Finnair, SAS, COPA and Southwest, were all led by CEOs without any prior airline experience.

Through a combination of leadership, business, innovation, technical and interpersonal skills, Medera was able to navigate around turbulence and laid the groundwork for positioning CAL on a strategic flight plan to profitability.

The airline industry is highly competitive and resides in a rapidly ever-evolving business and technological environment. Therefore, in order to be profitable, airlines must undergo a continuous metamorphosis in order to achieve and sustain a competitive advantage. Medera understood these airline dynamics.

His tenure so far has not been without challenges. Some detractors, both internal and external, criticised his recruitment of former Digicel employees to key positions in CAL. A CEO must be able to recruit suitable people to his team who enjoy his confidence and share his vision for transformation.

Since its formation, CAL has had a high turnover of CEOs and boards, causing instability and no continuity of a consistent strategic direction. People holding key management positions became tired and frustrated. To move the airline forward, a human resource transfusion was required.

Through innovation and technology, Medera and his team have made significant improvements in operations, marketing and customer service, resulting in greater efficiencies and enhanced customer service quality.

His introduction of customer centric revenue management, a shift away from traditional revenue management, has strengthened the CAL brand and increased revenues. All airline activities are now supported by effective information systems to facilitate prompt and well informed decision-making. New high-yield routes and modern fuel efficient aircraft are on CAL’s horizon, which will certainly expand its revenue base.

Under Medera’s leadership CAL is now focused on excellence in customer experience and can soon become a regional success story.

RAMESH LUTCHMEDIAL

retired director general of Civil Aviation

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