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Tunisair: ”We remain vigilant, but we are optimistic for the coming period,” says union

Chokri Kammoun, Secretary General of Tunis Cockpit Crew (pilots) union comments, below, the reaction of the General Management of Tunisair following the publication of figures on the financial situation of the company and a put forward some suggestions to the new CEO. Interview:

The General Management of Tunisair denied reports disclosed Thursday, Feb. 23, during a press conference held by the company unions coming under the UGTT concerning the financial situation of the airline and therefore confirms that the financial figures indicated are not in consistent with the annual accounting data of the company. What do you think?

Above all, it should be noted that the figures published during the press briefing, with losses amounting to 113 million dinars (MD) and a debt estimated at nearly 135 MD in 2011 are the same figures announced at a meeting held late January with the first company official to have information on the financial situation of Tunisair.

Faced with a critical situation and alarming figures, Tunisair unions coming under the Tunisian General Labor Union, have decided to draw the attention of the public and invite the Prime Minister to intervene to save the company that has more than 8,400 employees.

And, I think that the management is obliged to check its figures since it is the official source.

Another point to add is that there is a contradiction in the statement released by the management stating that Tunisair has been able to take steps to avoid bankruptcy and have put measures in place following the decline of the activity and rising fuel prices, which induced the use of operating credits whose volume did not exceed 8% of the turnover.

And despite this situation, Tunisair is able to financially cope with the effects of the situation and honor all its commitments to its lenders.

A week after this wake-up call, is there any reaction from the government which remains indifferent to the worsening economic and social situation of the company, to remedy this situation?

Honestly, we were not contacted by the supervising ministry. But the appointment of new staff at the general management is a strong sign of the Government’s mobilization to address this situation.

So what is your opinion regarding the situation as it currently stands?

We always remain vigilant, but we are optimistic for the coming period especially since a quick search made in recent days, indicated that that Rabah Jerad is a man with competence and integrity along with the two deputy directors who are among the best managers in Tunisair. Moreover, the new CEO had served as Deputy Director General of the Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company, STEG, from August 2002 until August 2009, CEO of SCOMENA from August 1997 to July 2002 and CEO of SIAME, from August 1993 to July 1997.

What are your suggestions to the chief manager of Tunisiair to be able to address the situation of the company?

The first step is to clean up the company from any form of corruption. And here emphasis is placed on the creation of an independent judicial commission in charge of cases of embezzlement and corruption.

Also, it’s time to reform the mode of governance of from a public to a commercial business to have competitiveness and a certain flexibility. It should be reminded that the current bureaucracy is causing the loss of a lot of opportunities in the air transport market.

Another proposal also touches on the implementation of two studies conducted by two international offices in order to establish a new business strategy for Tunisair.

Last point: for a better future at the economic and social level, we must ensure the neutrality of the company and make it apolitical.

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