CAL celebrates anniversary

The National Flag Carrier of the Cayman Islands, Cayman Airways, celebrates 38 years of service to the Cayman Islands this August.

A press release outlines that the airline, founded in 1968, was initially under part ownership of LACSA and its service linked the three Cayman Islands. Within its first four years of operation, Cayman Airways grew to a staff of 30 and launched its first US route – Miami, FL. In 1978, one year after the Cayman Islands became the sole proprietor of the airline, the Sir Turtle logo was adopted as the company logo and its second route – Houston, was launched.

The release continues, ‘During the 1980s, Cayman Airways ran charter operations to Tampa, Atlanta, New York, Newark, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore. In 1986, Tampa and Atlanta became non-stop scheduled service routes and by 1989, the fleet was upgraded to 737-400 equipment, and New York was added as a scheduled service point.

‘The 1990-1992 period saw increased competition on the Miami route, an oil crisis, and an overall airline industry financial downturn. This combination of negative events led to a significant restructuring of Cayman Airways in 1993, including a fleet reduction to two aircraft and elimination of first class service.’

By the late 1990’s, the company had stabilized to a three aircraft operation operating a route structure from Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac, Kingston, Miami, Tampa, Houston and Orlando.

After the tremendous negative impact of 9/11 on the airline community and the worldwide tourism industry, Cayman Airways underwent a short period of retrenchment and service cutbacks. By mid-2002, however, the company began a programme of modest and controlled schedule expansion, consumer-friendly price reductions and customer service improvements that brought about a resurgence of air travel to/from the Cayman Islands and an upsurge in tourism arrivals, the release explains.

December of 2003 saw the addition of non-stop service to Chicago, Illinois to its route offering as well as the introduction of Cayman Airways’ inter-island turbo prop service, Cayman Airways Express.

In September 2004, Hurricane Ivan struck and devastated Grand Cayman. As US carriers suspended service, Cayman Airways continued operations for both passenger evacuation and cargo relief. The airline suspended service to Ft. Lauderdale and Chicago, and operated limited schedules to Houston.

The release continues that in November 2004, tourism travel resumed and within the following eight weeks, the company reinstated both Ft. Lauderdale and Chicago service and launched seasonal service to its seventh US gateway – Boston, Massachusetts.

‘Today the company operates a total fleet of seven aircraft, including three 737-200 aircraft (one of them a QC freighter), two 737-300 aircraft and two Twin Otter turbo props and serves ten points in the US and Caribbean year-round,’ says the press release.

The US gateways include Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Houston and Chicago with regional connections to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, Havana, Cuba, Montego Bay and Kingston, Jamaica. In addition, seasonal service to Boston and Orlando is offered.

Cayman Airways traditionally has a great line-up to celebrate its anniversary and this year promises to deliver fabulous fare sales, chances to win prizes including tickets for travel on Cayman Airways and much more, says the airline.

This year’s anniversary kicks off on Friday, 4 August and runs until Saturday, 12 August.

‘Watch the local media for details,’ the release ends.

Cayman Airways’ website address is: www.caymanairways.com.

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