The government has given the go ahead to Cayman Airways to look into the acquisition of a regional commuter plane for Cayman Brac.
A business case is now being done toward acquiring the plane for Cayman Brac, which could also eventually serve Little Cayman.
The plane would also provide for direct air service between Cayman Brac and the US.
Speaking over the phone on Wednesday Sister Islands MLA Moses Kirkconnell said this has always been something that would have come eventually, especially after the Little Cayman airport project was completed, but the demand for seats to the Sister Islands is here now, he said.
‘In such a situation you look at how you can meet that demand,’ he said.
‘The business case for the Sister Islands would look into what is the best way to provide more seats in the market for Cayman Brac at this point in time,’ he said.
This charge has been handed over to the board and management of Cayman Airways and they will make recommendations, he said.
‘My input is, the sooner we get a plane the better for the Sister Islands,’ he said.
The business case is to be complete in January.
‘This is a huge move in the right direction for the economic development of the Sister Islands,’ Mr. Kirkconnell said.
The go ahead for the business case study was announced on Cayman Brac last Friday at a celebration of the new livery for Cayman Airways.
The announcement was given a tremendous reception, he said.
Until a new runway is installed at the airport in Little Cayman a 50 or 70 seater commuter plane would not be able to land there. The Little Cayman Airport Project is to begin next year. Until it is finished the airport would have to continue to be served by a twin otter turbo prop
‘Any time you’re trying to create sustainable economic benefits, especially for the Sister Islands, big parts of a puzzle have to be put in place. Air transportation is a big piece of that puzzle,’ said Mr. Kirkconnell.
VP Commercial with Cayman Airways John Wrightington said that the business case kicked off a couple of weeks ago and Captain Johnny Brown, vice chair of the CAL Board of Directors is orchestrating the feasibility study. ‘So we’re going to be talking with aircraft manufacturers regarding costs and performance capability of the various airplane opportunities,’ he said.
Cargo and baggage capacity on various aircraft will be looked into because visitors are always constrained by the bags that can be carried on a twin otter. ‘So we’re looking to maximize the amount of baggage capacity,’ Mr. Wrightington said.
Frequent twin otter service and four times weekly jet service from Grand Cayman serve Cayman Brac.
Improvement in air service has been called on for both tourism and economic development of the Sister Islands.
Cayman Brac hotel Divi Tiara shut down over a year ago with airlift issues cited as one of the reasons.