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Airline Management, Airline Restructuring, Commercial Airliners, State Owned Airlines, UPDATES

There is good news and there is bad news out of Surinam Airways (SLM), first the good news, long time CEO Robbi Lachmising is gone and hopefully more executives will go at the top, as really little has been done to turnaround SLM, a drain on public funds, and not the driver of economic and tourist development a national airline should be. The new CEO is Greg Lau and the new CFO is Steve Silos, and they are not from the airline industry and what I know, they are not political appointees of President Desi Bouterse’s NDP (National Democratic Party), unlike the previous CEO. This is all good, a fresh set of eyes, ears and ideas is finally running the show at SLM, and hopefully ready and willing to look at new business models and strategies, beside the one that has changed very little since independence on November 25, 1975. The bad news, is really not that bad, it is just another loss for the last fiscal year 2017-2018 of $US 3.0 million, which seems better, but in light of a small fleet of 3 aircraft (1 x A340-300, 1 x B737-700 and 1 x B737-300) it is just another indication SLM needs a major overhaul of its business, fleet and staff, as +/-800 employees for 3 aircraft is at least 4 times what it should be, to be efficient and competitive with any airline in the Caribbean Basin.

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SLM suffered losses of US $ 3 million

JULY 9, 2018 – Armand Snijders




Tomas’s Comment:


I know SLM pretty well, I was first there in the early 1980’s and I love the place and its people, the last time I was there was August, 2016, hoping to help then CEO Robbi Lachmising with a new strategy and fleet replacement, in late 2015 the airline was to return its single A340-300 which it uses on the Paramaribo to Amsterdam service, and the plan was for a big twin, but SLM was not able to organize ETOPS certification, so they leased another A340-300, keeping the 4 engine history alive from DC-6, DC-8, B747-300 to A340-300.



President Desi Bouterse, in January 2016 fired the Board and the CEO and Mr. Robbi Lachmising was brought out of 10+ year retirement to come back and run the struggling airline.


The airline has a lot of potentials, but it keeps seeing itself as a Surinamese airline, when it should be seeing itself as a Caribbean/South American airline, which then allows it to see the BIG picture of where it can go, with the right leadership.



I don’t wish to dwell into the strategy and potential but there is great potential for SLM to tap into 5th freedoms and 6th freedoms and even 7th freedoms in the Caribbean Basic and Northeastern Brazil.


I wish the new team of CEO Greg Lau much success, he will need to replace the remaining B737-300 with a B737-700/800 and soon even the A340-300 with a big twin, B787-89, B767-300ER or B777-200/300ER.



The previous team dragged its feet on all aircraft deals, I am suspicious as always, but we could have had a A350-900 and a B787-8 at very good terms, in fact, my plan called for 3 new x B737-700/800 at a great price, but with the 3 new B737’s with more seats, and all warranties could have doubled capacity due to more seats, higher utilization and the range to JFK and other long-range cities, the unit CASK would have been cheaper than the then existing 3 B737-300’s all over 20+ years old.


Anyway, lets see what tomorrow brings for SLM, its time for change, its time for a major overhaul of the business for the betterment of all Surinamese, as the country needs more tourists, more new businesses and a bigger SLM that can drive real economic development in Suriname, which till now SLM has failed at miserably for too long.


In the end its all about the people at the top, from Government to the airline, without real leadership, nothing gets done, leaders get things done! and that is sad story of Surinam Airways till today, little has changed.


Lastly, it was good to see Travel Service (Czech Republic) in Suriname earlier this year flying its B737-800 on ACMI for SLM, I know Travel Service very well during my 17 years in the Czech Republic, knew them when they had their 1st B737-400 and helped them set up their LCC SmartWings, the world is small, I would have never guessed that a Czech airliner would be flying for SLM, it is good, but very expensive, and one of the many reasons they lost $3.0 million last year for sure.






The Surinamese Airline Company (SLM-Surinam Airways) suffered about $US 3.0 million loss in the 2017-2018 financial year.


This, contrary to the three months ago by divorced director Robbi Lachmising expressed the expectation that the state-owned company for the first time in years would break even or even a small profit would book.


The loss is confirmed against the True Time by president-commissioner Jimmy Rosheuvel. “But the rudder has since been changed and we are working hard to make the SLM profitable, with a visible improvement in the quality of the service.”


Today (Monday, July 10) new CEO/Director Gerard Lau goes to work along with new CFO/Finance Director, Steve Silos. They were nominated by the Supervisory Board and their appointment was approved by the shareholders. While they have no airline experience, they have proved their skills in Suriname in running important local businesses like electricity and banana corporations.


Lau takes the place of ex-CEO Robbi Lachmising. His contract was not renewed three months ago after many of the abuses that took place under his leadership had come to light through the True Time, like the ground handling business through his family, etc.


The problems that the SLM has had with aircraft in recent months have contributed to the negative impact of the operating result. According to Rosheuvel, these problems arose mainly because decisions on the modernization of the regional fleet were made too late in the past year and a half.


About Aviation Doctor - Helping aviation companies to transform the present into a more profitable tomorrow

I am a Canadian and EU national with an MBA and 33+ years experience in aviation business development with 20 years overseas and work in 30+ countries. A former investment/merchant banker (mergers and acquisitions to corporate turnarounds). airline and OEM senior executive and past owner of 6 successful aviation companies in 3 countries (executive jet charter/management companies, aircraft sales, aircraft broker, airline/aerospace consulting to aircraft insurance). I have a very diverse aviation background with 75+ aviation companies (50+ airlines of all sizes, OEM's, airports, lessors, MRO to service providers) as consultant, executive management, business analyst and business development adviser. Excellent success track record in International Business Development. Most work with airlines is with new start-ups and restructuring of troubled carriers. I sold new business jets, turboprops and helicopters for Cessna, Raytheon, Gulfstream to Eurocopter as an ASR as well as undertaking sales and marketing of commercial aircraft for Boeing, de Havilland, Dornier, Saab and Beechcraft. Brokered everything from LET-410's to B747's and from piston PA31 to G550 business jets. I look beyond the headlines of the aviation news and analyze what the meaning and consequences of the new information really means. There is a story behind each headline that few go beyond. Picked the name Aviation Doctor, as much of my work has been with troubled companies or those that want and need to grow profitably. I fix problems in the business for a better tomorrow. You can reach me with comments or suggestions at: Tomas.Aviation@gmail.com I write a lot of Articles and Posts on LinkedIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomas-chlumecky-3200a021/


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