Govt looks to bail out the airport

Saturday 18 April 2020 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in Economy


Government will consider additional support to the Airport Authority to ensure it survives and avert the threat of 50 per cent pay cuts.

Yesterday, the publicly-owned company revealed its board had agreed to reduce salaries if revenue didn’t improve and they didn’t receive assistance in the next three to six months.

The authority has faced a major reduction in revenue with the cancellation of almost all flights. The only revenue they have left is the appropriation from government which is about $171,000 a month.

Now, Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown has promised to address its problems.

“Government is now looking at how we manage its survival,” he said.

Strategies included redeploying some staff, like security, to other areas of work or even to other agencies, he suggested.

This would require additional funding and would be part of considerations for the upcoming June budget.

“The Airport Authority is a unique agency in that that the bulk of its income has disappeared with the reduction of flights from 29 per week to one per week,” Brown added.

Financial secretary Garth Henderson said maintaining an adequate level of airport services was critical to ensuring access to outside world despite the fact there is only have one flight per week at the moment.

“I expect that like many business, some staff members will be redeployed into maintenance and upgrade work. We have been working with Airport Authority to fast track remedial work on the airport runway and surrounds,” Henderson said.

About 120 employees – including the chief executive Joe Ngamata, security and rescue fire staff, maintenance, technicians, carpark attendants, cleaners and admin staff – are facing up to a 50 per cent cut if there is no government support.

Ngamata earlier said: “There is no more revenue from flights, from the carpark, the car rental companies and from other companies and airlines who rent space from us on the airport.”

He also said their staff will remain on 100 per cent pay and have been reallocated into maintenance projects around the airport.