Thursday 21 November, 2019

Imbert: CAL fleet safe

FILE- In this Nov. 14, 2018, file photo Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes are parked near Boeing Co.'s 737 assembly facility in Renton, Wash. Investigators were rushing to the scene of a devastating plane crash in Ethiopia on Sunday, March 10, 2019, an accident that could renew safety questions about the newest version of Boeing's popular 737 airliner. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

FILE- In this Nov. 14, 2018, file photo Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes are parked near Boeing Co.'s 737 assembly facility in Renton, Wash. Investigators were rushing to the scene of a devastating plane crash in Ethiopia on Sunday, March 10, 2019, an accident that could renew safety questions about the newest version of Boeing's popular 737 airliner. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

There is no need to panic over Caribbean Airlines' (CAL) fleet.

The assurance comes from Finance Minister Colm Imbert who sought to address fears over 12 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft being added to the state air carrier’s fleet, following a headline in a daily newspaper which he described as a distortion of facts.

Airlines worldwide have grounded their Boeing 737 Max 8 jets following the Ethiopian Airlines crash over the weekend, which was the second to have occurred in five months.

Last November, CAL announced that it was looking to add 12 of the aircraft to its fleet in the fourth quarter of 2019.

However, Imbert made it clear that the airline is not currently flying the aircraft so there was no need to panic.

CAL’s current fleet is comprised of Boeing 737-800s which are among the safest airplanes in the world, Imbert said.

He said the first of the Max 8 jets are scheduled for delivery in December 2019, giving CAL more than enough time to make alternative arrangements to supplement its fleet should the aircraft model be found unsafe.  

“It is not plausible therefore that persons are “panicking” about aircraft that have not yet arrived, are not yet in service with CAL and are not due to be put into service by CAL for the next nine months,” he added.  

Below is the full statement issued by the Ministry of Finance:

The Hon. Colm Imbert, Minister of Finance, notes with dismay that the Trinidad Express of Tuesday March 12th, 2019 has once again resorted to hysteria, distortion of facts and illogical reasoning in its story headlined “CAL’s plan to lease 12 jets causing panic”.

The true facts are that CAL is not currently flying Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.  

The airline’s current fleet is comprised of Boeing 737-800s and these are among the safest airplanes in the world. Further, and more importantly, the first Boeing 737 Max 8 is scheduled for delivery in December 2019 and CAL therefore has ample time to make alternative arrangements to supplement its fleet if this model is found to be unsafe.  

It is not plausible therefore that persons are “panicking” about aircraft that have not yet arrived, are not yet in service with CAL and are not due to be put into service by CAL for the next nine (9) months.  

What is even more baffling about the concerns aired in this alarmist story is that American Airlines uses the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft to service its flights in and out of Trinidad every day with hundreds of Trinbagonians on board, yet The Trinidad Express seems to have little concern for the safety of those passengers who are on an aircraft that their journalist has already condemned as defective.

This article therefore has all the characteristics of fake news, because if passengers were really panicking, then they would certainly be concerned about travelling to and from Trinidad on an airline which already has the Boeing 737 Max 8 in regular service.

The Minister hopes that going forward The Express will fulfil its responsibility to its reading public and publish well-researched stories instead of straw man fallacies.

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