BRIAN MANNING, Minister in the Ministry of Finance, said on Friday that CAL's new route to Venezuela was worth over $3 million and was expected to grow even more, replying to a listed question in the name of Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal.
The question asked what was the commercial basis of CAL's decision to resume flights to Caracas, Venezuela.
Manning said, "The decision to recommence service to Caracas was based upon research and analysis of historical performance and potential at route and network level. Also considered were the changing aviation environment, the socio-economic and security posture of Venezuela and the demand for direct flights to Port of Spain as a final destination and as a transit hub to North America, Europe, Africa and Asia."
"CAL utilised projections to achieve annualised positive contribution levels at route contribution 1, (RC1), (US$456,000 or $3.1 million) and route contribution 2, (RC2), which includes RC1, (US$46,000 or $313,000) levels of positive contribution for the first year of restart operations to Caracas with growth expected thereafter as frequency and capacity is added."
He added that profit contribution to the route was also expected at the network level as CAL expected to have people connecting mainly to airports in Toronto, New York, Barbados, Guyana, and Suriname. The connections are expected to grow further as CAL increases frequency.
"There has been a great demand from diplomats, members of the diaspora community and the travelling public for the re-establishment of CAL flights to and from Caracas originating in Port of Spain."
Requests have also been made from the business community in Caracas and wider Venezuela keen to do business in TT and to use TT as the transit point for onward travel to North American and European destinations.
"A recent publication by Bloomberg indicated that the Venezuelan economy will grow substantially in 2023 and record a current account surplus.
"Airlines are now permitted to charge for flights to and from Venezuela in US dollars, thus eliminating currency risk.
"Venezuela has established a secure environment at its international airport in Caracas for the travelling public, thus creating a safe zone for passengers, airline staff and associated businesses to operate."