BA will not bring big planes to Cayman

Cayman market adequately served

British Airways has no plans to bring bigger
planes to Cayman.

Chief Executive Operator Willie
Walsh told the Compass that Grand Cayman is adequately served by the 767
service via Nassau, regardless of runway length.

“We’re always pleased to see
investment in airport infrastructure and clearly that gives us further options
and would enable us to respond to market demand by [using] bigger aircraft – if
the demand existed.”

However, regarding Cayman, that is
not the case, he said.

Mr. Walsh explained that the
critical issue is to ensure that future investment is cost-effective and does
not translate into significant increases in airport charges.

“Everybody wants to see
connectivity and everybody wants to see it at affordable prices. In the same
way as [I have been] critical of the UK government for increasing air passenger
duty and adding to the cost of travel, we need to be clear that airports need
to invest wisely and ensure that investments in infrastructure do not lead to
significant increases in costs, because those increases will just cause people
to move away [from a destination].

“So we welcome investment into an
airport, but we would encourage investments to be carefully targeted and
cost-effective and have a clear understanding as to how those capital
investments can translate into airport charges,” said the aviation chief.

Strike action

Mr. Walsh added that the airline regrets
the significant loss of service Cayman experienced during strike action by
cabin crew in May and June, but a plan is now in place to ensure that further
strikes would not affect flights to Cayman,

“It’s regrettable that the services
did suffer, mainly because it’s operated by the 767. We hadn’t, at that time,
trained what we call our volunteer cabin crew on the 767 aircraft.

“Since then we’ve [developed a
contingency plan so] that so what I can assure you is that should we face any
action – and I hope that we won’t – we will operate full long-haul schedule
from Heathrow, and that includes all services operating with a 767.”

“You can rest assured that services
to Nassau and Grand Cayman will operate normally in the event of further
industrial action.”

Mr. Walsh is attending the
Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s Leadership Strategy Conference in Bridgetown,