By Christopher Tobutt
Cayman Airways took to the skies with its first passengers on a complimentary day trip to Cayman Brac - a signal to the world that the airline’s 737-8 fleet is back in business.
Onboard were government officials and business representatives, members of the public and the press.
The 737-8 was grounded in March last year following the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy.
During that time the entire global fleet of the Boeing-manufactured planed have undergone a comprehensive upgrade of their operating systems before being given the all-clear to take to the skies again.
The flight was greeted on arrival at the Sir Captain Charles Kirkconnell International Airport by students from the Brac’s West End primary school, and the Layman E. Scott Sr. High School who also were taken on a tour of the aircraft.
Ten-year-old Sachy said: “I really liked looking over the airplane, and her friend Leia chimed in: “I like the fact that they had first class and it was a really big plane with a lot of space.”
Hon. Minister of Tourism Moses Kirkconnell said, It’s a very special feeling when you see the CAL colours landing on the runway; when you see the flight attendants, when you see the support staff, when you see the Caymanian pilots, it has to make everybody extremely proud.”
Mr Kirkconnell, Deputy Premier and MP for Cayman Brac West and Little Cayman, said the Sister Islands “always depend on Cayman Airways as a tool for the people.”
HE Governor Martyn Roper remarking on the turnout to see the flights touch down said, “There’s a huge crowd that has come out to see the planes in the Brac and that’s fantastic, because these planes are the safest planes in the world, especially given how much work has gone on to make sure they are safe.”
Mr Roper said the 737-8 is “a fantastic addition to Cayman Airways” and called the airline “a national treasure.”
“I think we are all very proud for Cayman Airways and what it represents for the jurisdiction,” he stated.
Chairman of the CAL board, Philip Rankin said, “These aircraft can to a lot more than the 300’s can and we can open up new routes because of the distance that these planes can fly. And of course, it’s a major tool for Cayman tourism.”
“Everybody resident here should be proud that Cayman, as small as we are, we have a national airline,” Mr Rankin declared.
CAL CEO Fabian Whorms, anticipating a return to normalcy, stated: “We are taking it one month at a time. When things resume, Cayman Airways will be ready. We’ve weathered the storm of 2020, we are in a position where we know we can weather through 2021, so we are looking forward to 2022 being normal and better.”