No empty promises

"Our business plan shows how BWIA can become an excellent, customer-oriented, competitive and profitable carrier"

Peter Davies – Chief Executive Officer

I feel truly excited to have joined BWIA at such a challenging moment in its history.

As we all know, the global airline industry has undergone severe difficulties in the last few years, made worse by spiralling fuel costs. At the same time, passengers and freight customers rightly demand excellence and value for money. BWIA operates within this global environment, and we cannot escape these international challenges.

But we also have challenges of our own. During our 65-year history, BWIA has made many attempts at sustained profitability. Except for a couple of years, it has failed, and this must change. We have no choice but to operate a lean operation that addresses all the competitive factors while providing a safe, customer-driven service. That is the only way to provide a long-term future for our passengers, employees and shareholders.

The transformation process is now under way, with the help of equity support from the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. But the acid test will lie in the results. I see my role as providing an environment for successful performance. Empty words and promises fool no one, and these I do not provide.

Our business plan shows how BWIA can become an excellent, customer-oriented, competitive and profitable carrier. My faith is based on many years of aviation success in turnarounds. We are attacking the challenges on several fronts, but one of the most important is on-time performance. Nothing is more important for our customers than a safe, reliable, punctual, hassle-free experience. It is a key test of the way an airline differentiates itself from its competitors. Punctuality can be a serious headache for small carriers with limited backup resources, often exacerbated by constraints within the airport terminals and therefore outside our control. Nevertheless, our on-time departure target is 85%, in line with industry norms.

This is an area where BWIA has not been doing well, and that has already begun to change. We have already started daily and weekly operations reviews, and other changes including performance-linked bonuses are being introduced. In particular we have taken urgent steps to alleviate the situation in Guyana, where power outages have frequently affected check-in and other procedures. We have now installed a new UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) there, which should make a marked difference to operations at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

We are looking carefully at other ways of streamlining the BWIA passenger experience. Electronic ticketing is of course already available via our website, www.bwee.com, and I urge our customers to make good use of it.

But many a management expert has also noted that small things count as much as big ones in the long run: people who do not feel pride and confidence in themselves find it very hard to bring pride and professionalism to their public performance. As one small example of this, we recently cleared the BWIA compound in Trinidad of an accumulation of old vehicles and scrap metal (actually generating some additional revenue in the process, since the material was sold off to bidders). Putting our own house in order is a vital part (and a potent symbol) of transformation.

As we work on this programme of change, I would like to thank all our travelling customers, our freight customers, our staff and associates, for your continued support. I pledge to do everything I can to reward your loyalty and trust.

Peter Davies
Chief Executive Officer