Local tour company Cayman Islands Helicopters opened their new helipad on the George Town waterfront on Friday, 11 November.
Owned and operated by Jerome Begot, the facility includes a newly built viewing deck and shop and is located on North Church Street between Burger King and Lobster Pot restaurant at the north end of town.
Mr. Begot said he hopes the new helipad will not only help boost his business, but also others around him.
“At the moment, cruise ship passengers get off the ships and turn right,” he said. “Businesses to the left of the port do not attract quite the same numbers.
I hope the new helipad will be an additional attraction to lure tourists this end of the waterfront.
“I think it will be good for the island,” Mr. Begot said. “For example, the Lobster Pot, we hope to boost their business, too. Now cruise ship passengers will take a trip with us and see the restaurant and perhaps decide to take lunch there, when formerly they would not have spotted it.”
Cayman Islands Helicopters formerly operated from the Owen Robert International Airport, with cruise ship passengers having to be collected and driven the 10-minute drive to the airport.
“Now, passengers don’t have to waste time,” he said. “It’s just a five minute walk.
It’s a good business move. My business is more visible now.”
Mr. Begot had been searching for a suitable facility for the past seven years, including two years spent getting the necessary approval.
“It was tough to find a suitable place to meet all the regulations, but it is great that we are finally here,” he said.
“I’ve had a lot of support from the business people around me, from government and the Civil Aviation Authority.”
The Civil Aviation Authority confirmed the newly opened heliport had been certified in accordance with the Overseas Territories Aviation Requirements for commercial air transport operations.
Cayman Islands Helicopters have been operating in Cayman since 2003 and offers visitors and residents a variety of tour options for a unique perspective, including trips over George Town, the sandbar and along Seven Mile Beach.