Cayman Airways will run direct flights to and from Honduras starting next month.
‘Opening this new gateway is in response to overwhelming feedback from our customers, and we are excited about adding this new destination to our schedule,’ said the airline’s Acting Chairman of the Board Johnny Brown.
Cayman Airways had originally planned to launch the route last December, but delays occurred when the Honduran Civil Aviation Authority would not initially issue the airline with an operating permit.
The delay stemmed from there being no bilateral ground handling agreement at the time between Cayman Airways and Honduras-based Rollins Air, according to the Honduras Civil Aviation Authority.
Olson Anderson, Cayman Airways’ chief executive office designate, said ground handling arrangements were currently being sorted out in La Ceiba. ‘We’re signing contracts there now,’ he said on Tuesday, adding that the airline was not signing a ground handling agreement with Rollins Air.
According to Honduran Civil Aviation Authority official Boris Ferrera, Cayman Airways was granted permission to fly into La Ceiba on 30 March this year.
Until January, Honduras-based Atlantic Airlines operated direct flights between Cayman and La Ceiba, but the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands revoked its operating permit on 29 January and it has not been re-instated.
Due to several failures of the airline to operate its flights in December and January, scores of passengers were left stranded in Cayman and Honduras at the time.
Another Honduran airline, Islena Air, in April began operating two direct flights a week to La Ceiba from Grand Cayman after being granted an operating licence by Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands on 19 March this year.
Meanwhile, Rollins Air, which has been stating for months that it plans to launch a Grand Cayman-La Ceiba route has still not done so.
Rollins Air representative Margaret Martinez said on Tuesday that the airline was awaiting paperwork so it could apply for an operating permit into Cayman.
In December last year, Atlantic Airlines cancelled flights in and out of Cayman, stranding passengers who later protested at George Town Police Station and the Legislative Assembly in a bid to seek official assistance to get home.
It resumed service at the end of December for a few weeks but has not flown in or out of Cayman since the end of January.
Cayman’s national carrier will begin a new non-stop Boeing 737 jet service to Honduras on 6 June. It will operate once a week on Saturdays.
Flight 824 will depart Grand Cayman at 9am arriving in La Ceiba at 9:15am and the return flight 825 will depart La Ceiba at 10:15am and arrive on Grand Cayman at 12:30pm.
There is a one-hour time difference between the two gateways.