Executives of state-owned Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) have been called upon to explain why one employee made 100 free trips in a calendar year, on personal business.
The question was raised by the chairman of the Joint Select Committee (JSC) on State Enterprises, Independent Senator David Small, as CAL's executive appeared before the JSC today.
Small referred to CAL documents which showed that the employee, a pilot, made the trips using what is referred to as a "jump-seat".
"Someone is using CAL as Air-Uber. This smacks of abuse of privilege," Small said.
CAL's vice-president, Human Resources, Hyacinth Guy told the committee that all employees are entitled to 20 trips per year.
She said an analysis showed that on average, employees use between six and eight flights.
She said the use of the jump-seat was industry practice and therefore Human Resources would not have had sight of the frequency of flights used by the particular pilot.
However, she opined that it may not necessarily be an abuse of the system and noted that in some cases, some staff work in Trinidad but live elsewhere and might be utilising this as an option.
Small said that while the number of flights may not have impacted on the revenue of the airline, the JSC will have some clear recommendations on that practice.
He also pointed to another case in which one passenger already took 30 flights in the first four months of this year using the jump-seat.
He says this has the potential to send the wrong message to other members of staff.
When asked about the practice, CAL chairman Shameer Mohammed told the JSC that he was just as concerned about it, as they were.