A business offering scenic helicopter flights to tourists will return to downtown George Town next week after winning another legal battle against its neighbors on the waterfront.
Pilot Jerome Begot, owner and operator of Cayman Islands Helicopters, said he would be back at the downtown location in time for the busy tourist season.
Flights were suspended from the location in June last year after a judge ruled that the site “may not be considered safe in its current form” and advised the Civil Aviation Authority to reconsider its decision to grant an aerodrome certificate for the helipad.
The CAA and Cayman Islands Helicopters successfully appealed that decision in March. In a ruling published earlier this month, the helicopter business was awarded legal costs.
Mr. Begot said he was happy to put the matter behind him and would be back in George Town within a week.
“We are painting the building and I hope to be back there next week. We are flying from the airport at the moment.
“I think the ruling shows to people that justice was done, we did nothing wrong. This was never about safety. I have always been safe and approved by the CAA,” he added.
Mr. Begot said it was important to his business to be downtown where the majority of tourists are.
“When I am downtown, it is like black and white compared to being at the airport for the business.”
The business has been embroiled in legal battles with businesses on the waterfront since opening its base there in 2011 in an effort to attract more customers – particularly from the cruise ships that dock in George Town harbor.
Two downtown businesses, Axis International and Coastal Two, challenged the original decision to grant planning permission on the grounds that it would cause noise pollution and disruption to their businesses.
Axis International also applied for judicial review of the aviation authority’s decision to grant an aerodrome certificate for the site, saying the location was unsafe. Chief Justice Anthony Smellie upheld some of the complaints and said the CAA had failed to ensure compliance with the Overseas Territories Aviation Requirements or to demonstrate that it has ensured an equivalent level of safety to justify deviating from those guidelines.
But the Court of Appeal decided that the CAA had considered those requirements – which are guidelines rather than rules – and had the necessary evidence before it to come to the conclusion that the aerodrome was safe.