Airline made bad decision

I would like to express my disbelief and sadness that in the midst of the toughest economic crisis that Cayman has ever had to face, Cayman Airways, our national flag carrier, has seen fit to take the contract to produce its Horizons In-flight magazine away from a local company and give it to an overseas publishing house.

Yes, Horizons Magazine probably needed a facelift and if there were no suitably qualified local publishing companies to fulfil the contract one could understand the decision to look overseas. However Cayman is fortunate to have plethora of excellent publishers such as Cayman Free Press, Acorn Publishing and MC2, which already produce world class glossy publications and could have done a superb job.

So if lack of ability is not why they made the decision, was it greed then? Of course we all want Cayman Airways to succeed in finally becoming a profitable organisation, but how can the decision makers be so short sighted in the current economic climate?

According to the Caymanian Compass cover story last week a Cayman Airways spokesperson stated ‘it would bring increased revenues’. But, wait a second, Horizons has no cover price or subscription fee and therefore revenues are only generated by the sale of advertising.

If Cayman Airways was seduced by the giddy promise from a foreign company of increased advertising sales, they are shooting themselves in the foot.

What makes them think that local businesses, which are struggling in these difficult times would want to spend their hard earned dollars advertising in the in-flight magazine anymore knowing that instead of the profits going to a local publisher that’s paid its licenses and dues, employs locals and invests back in to the local economy, they would instead be supporting an overseas entity which would no doubt take all profits overseas?

Cayman Airways quite rightly wants local residents to support the national flag carrier rather than fly with an American airline, so I ask doesn’t that reciprocal business argument work both ways? A private entity may be forgiven for this faux pas but not our national airline. I don’t believe that our new Minister of Tourism and Leader of Government Business, who is proactively looking at ways to stimulate our economy, will be happy having his face and name endorse the magazine’s welcome message knowing that it’s aiding the US economy instead of Cayman’s!

I sold my local publishing/Internet business last year and therefore have nothing to gain personally by writing this letter.

I simply want to express that if we all do our bit to support local business and keep the CI dollar circulating in Cayman instead of going overseas, it will help Cayman dig its way out of this economic pickle before more small businesses are forced to close down and lay off staff.

Hilary McKenzie-Cahill