Your article regarding our new Call Center published on 22 June 2012 was full of misconceptions and misrepresentations. It is rather unfortunate you did not seek the facts by contacting us for correct information. We would appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns, clarify the facts and set the record straight.
Our press release of 14 June 2012 made clear that not one job was lost in the TCI in our company’s modernization exercise. The Customer Care Center at Providenciales is now dedicated to the walk-in public and has expanded its function to include an executive sales center. As our press release clearly explained, our reservations functions were contracted out to a company in the Dominican Republic, as is frequently the case in any industry once call volumes reach a certain threshold. Whilst our primary focus remains at our home base, as a regional carrier we are expected to contribute satisfactory levels of employment in our host countries as well. We are proud of the fact we have been able to successfully expand throughout the region while still protecting jobs here in our home country.
Omitted from your article but stated in our press release was the fact that we first established the call center in Providenciales, but after implementation concluded that the cost of connecting to our international markets was prohibitive. This project was started long before the VAT announcement, so VAT was never a consideration. Local telecommunication costs and a lack of affordable options to interface with modern technologies were deciding factors.
Despite your heavy and not easily missed insinuation that the airline prospered through political connections, our company, with Lyndon Gardiner at the helm, achieved its current level of success through very hard work and dedication. Sadly, you seem to be unaware of our history and the many years when Mr. Gardiner simultaneously served as CEO, reservationist, refueler, baggage handler and pilot to achieve his current level of success with the company. Your allegations that there was an easier and less honest route are insulting not just to our Chairman but to the staff who have dedicated themselves to providing the best service they can to the country.
Because of our fleet capability, the airline was offered a subsidy intended to make essential air service to Salt Cay, Middle Caicos and North Caicos sustainable, but in fact during the Misick administration we did not receive the agreed payment for an extended period of nine months, during which we continued to provide service. It is noteworthy that Skyking received a subsidy for service to South Caicos during this same period, and Caicos Express currently receives the Salt Cay subsidy, albeit at a higher price for less frequent service in much smaller airplanes.
We are happy to share that fares were kept at the pre-SkyKing purchase level until 2010 when rising fuel costs and other increased costs of doing business demanded the need to adjust the fares in some markets. Some airports and foreign governments also increased their fees or taxes along the years, which also affected total ticket prices. Comparing the type of equipment we use, the service we provide, the segment lengths and the load factors we carry against any similar operation it can only be concluded that our ticket prices reflect a bargain. Our fares are first and foremost a reflection of the operating costs of running an airline, and the many variables that make up those costs.
Air Turks and Caicos has maintained the highest on-time performance record in the Caribbean for nearly four consecutive years. While the standard worldwide is on average 75.5 percent, our average is in the high 80s and low 90s, an outstanding record!
Your readers will be pleased to know that Air Turks and Caicos continues to provide service to Jamaica, and has done so uninterruptedly for nearly 9 years, along with the routes within the TCI, Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Air Turks and Caicos has an enviable record in representing our nation, for which every Belonger can be proud. We are 100% privately owned by a Belonger and stand on our own without benefit of any Government subsidy whatsoever. In the 20 years since the airline began, we have grown from a one-man, one-plane operation to safely and efficiently flying the largest, most modern and complex aircraft ever to be operated by a TCI airline. We have hired and trained a large number of young aviation professionals and are proud that we are offering our young people unprecedented opportunities for career development. Air Turks and Caicos remains dedicated to being an integral part of the community, and is focused on becoming the Caribbean’s top regional carrier.
The true story of Air Turks and Caicos, our history and our contribution to the community is a story to be proud of, when told correctly and factually. Please reconsider your recent story, and in the future contact us for information to help in your pursuit of the facts.
Thank you for this opportunity.
Deborah C. Aharon
VP, Business Development