By Ralph Lewis
A one-hour trip from La Ceiba Honduras for 90 passengers eventually lasted six hours with the first group of 34 arriving at the Owen Roberts airport at 9.30pm Monday night.
Two members from the Caymanian Times editorial team were on assignment in Honduras over the weekend and were booked to return on Cayman Airways flight 883 on Monday, February 10 from La Ceiba’s Aeropuerto Golson arriving in Grand Cayman at 3.50pm.
The Cayman Airways Boeing 737-300 aircraft arrived 20 minutes early and departed for Grand Cayman ahead of schedule. Passengers were delighted as they were expected to arrive at 3.30pm. Unfortunately, this was not to be. As the George Town runaway came into sight the captain advised passengers that he was placed in a holding pattern as the Owen Roberts Airport had just been closed.
The plane circled for 20 minutes off the George Town coast before eventually flying to Cayman Brac to await the reopening of the Airport. Passengers stayed on the plane at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport for an hour before being advised that the flight was being terminated in Cayman Brac and all passengers would have to disembark and be processed by customs.
By then due to the efficiency of Social Media and local news agencies, the news of partial damage to a temporary asphalt ramp causing the airport to be closed had circulated to all passengers.
Passengers were professionally accommodated in the Brac and the Cayman Airways staff advised that the airport had been reopened with a re-declared distance, allowing limited flight operations to resume. Plans had been made for the 2 Cayman Airways Express Saabs to travel to the Brac to collect 68 passengers with the remainder returning the next morning on the jet at 7am.
The arrival of the Saab’s and return flights were flawless and the first group of 34 arrived in Grand Cayman at 9.30pm bringing a 6-hour journey to a safe and happy ending with applause from all passengers.
A contingency plan is a course of action designed to help an organization respond effectively to a significant future event or situation that may or may not happen.
A contingency plan is sometimes referred to as "Plan B," because it can be also used as an alternative for action if expected results fail to materialize. Contingency planning is a component of business continuity, disaster recovery and risk management.
The Board of Directors for Cayman Airways may not have foreseen the partial damage to the runaway on February 10, 2020, but we are sure that the purchase of the two Saab’s were an integral part of their contingency planning.
We thank our National Airline and particularly the Aircraft Crews for the excellent service and this is another reason why we choose to fly on our National Airline, Cayman Airways.