In what equates to the ultimate vote of confidence, the Cayman Islands Pilots Association(CAPA) says it supports the decision to ‘unground’ Cayman Airways’ two 737 Max 8 planes.
“We look forward to having you our valued customers, as well as our own family and friends back on board the 737-8," CAPA said in a statement following the announcement that the aircraft had been cleared to return to commercial operations.
The endorsement comes as Cayman Airways prepares the planes for passenger service by the middle of this month.
Airlines around the world were ordered in 2019 to take the Being 737 Max-8 out of service following two fatal crashes which led to extensive investigations into the cause and resulted in a series of comprehensive modifications to the aircraft.
In the statement signed by CAPA president Captain Gary R Hyndes and First Officer Norbert ‘Kel’ Thompson Jr - chairman of CAPA’s safety committee - the pilots say the aircraft is "one of the safest to fly now."
“The consensus is that because of the extraordinary scrutiny from several Civil Aviation Authorities around the world which involved hundreds of professionals pilots and engineers, we can say without hesitation that this aircraft is one of the safest to fly now.”
They further state that “it is our professional opinion that a well-trained and competent crew will only add to the layers of safety now mandated by the rectification process.
Cayman Airways is singled out for its “commitment to pilot training” which CAPA says “meets or exceeds every Civil Aviation Authority’s regulatory requirement.”
The pilots association said during the 22 months that the aircraft was grounded, its members continued to be simulator-trained.
“It is also noteworthy to mention that our members receive training every six months, whereas many airlines around the world train their pilots less frequently to save on their training costs - as little as once every 18 months.
"It is our learned opinion that the frequency and quality of training we receive enhances the ability of our members to respond appropriately to any unforeseen abnormal situations,” the statement said.
To remove any lingering doubts in the minds of the travelling public, the pilots association gave this commitment:
“We the members of the CAPA would like to reiterate to the travelling public that safety remains our highest priority when operating any aircraft and we will never prioritize economics or flight schedules over safety.
We look forward to having you our valued customers, as well as our own family and friends back on board the 737-8.”