CAL expands air service to Honduras

Cayman Airways last week extended its flights to Honduras to twice weekly and marked the expansion with a ceremony at La Ceiba Airport.

cal expanding service

Honduran tourism minister Ana Abarca cuts the ribbon to mark Cayman Airways expanded service to La Ceiba, flanked by the airlines CEO Fabian Whorms on right and Philip Rankin from the airlines board of directors. Photo: Norma Connolly

The airline launched the service in June, operating one flight a week.

Chief executive officer Fabian Whorms explained that the popularity of the route led Cayman Airways to double the number of flights of two a week.

Describing La Ceiba as ‘the eco-tourism and entertainment capital of Honduras’, Mr. Whorms said he was sure it would become a popular tourist destination for Caymanians.

‘Cayman and Honduras has also long been linked by the settlement of our peoples in each other’s communities and so it is only fitting that we continue to find ways to connect and reconnect with our friends, families and business partners in Cayman and in Honduras,’ he said.

According to the 2009-2010 budget, the airline is expected to make a more than $4 million loss in this financial year, up to June 2010.

Mr. Whorms said he believed the route would be profitable. ‘We expect that this will improve our bottom line.’

Honduran minister of tourism Ana Abarca cut a ribbon at La Ceiba airport to commemorate the expanded service.

‘[Many] more Hondurans will be able to visit your beautiful islands and by the same token there will be many more people from Cayman who will come to visit us and that’s what it’s all about – tourism,’ Ms Abarca said at a quickly arranged press conference to publicise the expanded service last Thursday.

The airline is operating two Boeing 737-300 flights a week. Mr. Whorms said the airline was offering special roundtrip fares between Grand Cayman and La Ceiba for US$220.

Travel must be completed by 7 December, 2009 with this fare.

The expanded service also means La Ceiba residents can take advantage of same-day connections from Miami with the flights.

‘We have chosen a prime spot in our schedule to devote to this flight with the hope that we can provide what we understand o be much needed connectivity between La Ceiba and Miami without the need to having to travel to San Pedro Sula,’ Mr. Whorms said.

San Pedro Sula is about 70 miles from La Ceiba.

The airline is offering a one-way fare of US$199 from La Ceiba to Miami with a short stop in Grand Cayman.

Cayman Airways is now the only airline flying between the Cayman Islands and Honduras. It was originally slated to launch the route in December, but this was delayed due to ground-handling arrangements and other issues.

Honduran airline Rollins Air had wanted to launch a service between the two airports but was unable to secure an operating permit from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands. Atlantic Air, which used to run a La Ceiba-Grand Cayman route stopped operating the route in January, and Honduran carrier Islena Air, which also used to operate that route, is no longer doing so.