Passengers on Cayman’s national airline have been affected by a series of substantial delays over the past two weeks. On the Miami route alone, 11 flights have been delayed by three hours or more.
On four separate occasions since April 26, the late flight from Miami, due to land in Grand Cayman at 9:35 p.m. has arrived in the early hours of the morning causing Customs and Immigration officers to be called in and leaving arriving tourists with limited access to taxis.
The single biggest delay on the Miami route over that time period was the April 27 flight, scheduled for a 9:30 p.m. departure, which eventually left the U.S. at 3:30 a.m. arriving in Grand Cayman more than six hours late.
The airline attributed the delays to repairs required on some of its aircraft, which it says have now been resolved.
Fabian Whorms, CEO of Cayman Airways, claimed the airline’s schedule reliability was “usually better than airline industry standard,” though he provided no evidence to support this claim and the airline, unlike carriers in the U.K. or the U.S. does not publish “on-time” data to the public.
Mr. Whorms thanked passengers for their “loyalty, patience and understanding.”
He said, “From time to time, our schedule is unavoidably affected by one of our four aircraft having to be removed from service for maintenance.
“Even when repairs are often minor in nature, the time involved in the procurement of the required parts sometimes prolongs the time out of service.”
Mr. Whorms added, “We recently experienced some unavoidable lengthy delays where, in each case, the maintenance work required parts that were not in our inventory, so the affected aircraft remained out of service until the parts were received and installed.
“With the safety of our operations being our obvious first responsibility, we always do our best to ensure that any delays are minimal and affect the least number of our valued passengers.”
Cayman Airways initially did not respond to requests from the Compass for information on the delays, prompted by complaints from passengers.
But data on the delays was recorded on international flight tracking website FlightAware. An analysis of flights on the Miami route showed that 11 flights had been delayed by three hours or more in just under two weeks since the CAY 107 flight from Miami touched down in Grand Cayman, five hours late on April 26 – a Saturday morning.
Sunday and Monday of this week – May 4 and 5 – were particularly bad days for passengers with the flight tracking data indicating that four flights on the busy Cayman-Miami route were delayed by three hours or more over that time period.
In the U.K. and the U.S., flights that touch down more than 15 minutes after the scheduled arrival time are recorded as delayed by aviation authorities.
The U.K.-based Daily Telegraph newspaper reported last month that Monarch Airlines was the worst performing airline operating in the country, based on on-time data. Almost 30 percent of the airline’s flights were delayed in 2013. The average delay time was 18 minutes. Similar statistics are not publicly available for Cayman Airways and the airline did not respond to a request for those figures.
In his statement about the delays, Mr. Whorms added, “Knowing that Cayman Airways has one of the highest safety standards in the industry, and employs hundreds of Caymanians, we appreciate the continued loyalty, patience and understanding of our valued customers, and encourage them to contact us directly with any concerns they may have.”
CAY 107, Miami to Cayman. Scheduled arrival 9:35 p.m. DELAYED: Three hours, four minutes
CAY 102, Cayman to Miami. Scheduled arrival 9:35 a.m. DELAYED: Three hours, 20 minutes
CAY 106, Cayman to Miami. Scheduled arrival 8 p.m. DELAYED: Three hours, three minutes
CAY 103, Miami to Cayman. Scheduled arrival 11:30 a.m. DELAYED: Three hours, 55 minutes.
CAY 107, Miami to Cayman. Scheduled arrival 9.35 p.m. DELAYED: Four hours, 25 minutes.
CAY 102, Cayman to Miami. Scheduled arrival 9:35 a.m. DELAYED: Four hours, 43 minutes
CAY 103, Miami to Cayman. Scheduled arrival 11:30 p.m. DELAYED: Five hours, 28 minutes
CAY 107, Miami to Cayman. Scheduled arrival 9:35 p.m. DELAYED: Six hours
CAY 105, Miami to Cayman. Scheduled arrival 5:22 p.m. DELAYED: Four hours, 30 minutes
CAY 104, Cayman to Miami. Scheduled arrival 4:10 p.m. DELAYED: Three hours, 30 minutes.
CAY 107, Miami to Cayman. Scheduled arrival 9:35 p.m. DELAYED: Five hours, six minutes
Dates refer to landing times.