Airport movements top one million

There were more than one million movements by passengers through the Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman last year.

Yet the terminal building, when it opened in1984 was only capable of handling up to 500,000 passengers and it has not expanded since to accommodate the growing numbers.

The figures of passenger movements, made available by the Cayman Islands Airports Authority, show that there were 546,317 arriving passengers and 536,296 departing passengers in 2008.

Of that total 1.08 million passenger movements through the airport in 2008, nearly 960,000 of them were international movements (487,768 arriving and 470,400 departing passengers).

Of those international movements the CIAA statistics do not provide a breakdown of numbers of residents versus tourists. However, Department of Tourism statistics for the year 2008 show that there were 302,879 tourist air arrivals which would have resulted in 605,758 airport passenger movements.

That would leave 352,410 movements from both residents and in-transit passengers (184,919 arrivals and 167,491 departures

A Freedom of Information request confirmed that the Department of Tourism does not include in-transit passengers not spending the night in Cayman in its tourist air arrival statistics.

According to figures provided by the Department of Immigration through a Freedom of Information request, the number of in-transit passenger movements through the airport in 2008 were 69,923 (35,087 arrivals and 34,836 departures).

This means that there would have been 282,487 movements from residents through the airport in 2008.

A review last year by the Caymanian Compass revealed that Cayman’s current population is likely well above 60,000 people and could even be approaching 65,000.

Taking the lowest number of movements in either direction, in this case departures, by residents (roughly 132,000) and taking the population to be a conservative 60,000 – that would mean the average resident took around two international trips last year.

Figures from the CIAA also show that there were over 113,000 domestic movements last year.

There were over 6,600 passenger movements on charter flights (3,649 arriving and 2,969 departing).

11,193 passenger movements through the airport last year were on private planes (5,250 arriving and 5,943 departing).