Online poll: Opinions split on airport Jetways

Nearly 41 percent of respondents to last week’s online poll think Owen Roberts International Airport should have boarding bridges, often referred to as Jetways, if $20 million is added to the airport redevelopment project. 

Of the 563 total respondents, the largest segment – 229 people or 40.7 percent – think the airport should have the boarding bridges, which allow passengers to board or disembark an aircraft directly to the terminal without having to walk up or down stairs. 

“This is the only airport I have been to that doesn’t have them,” said one person. “If we are to be a first-class tourist destination, we need to have first-class facilities.” 

“Disabled passengers are being carried down the steps from the aircraft in a wheelchair by two airport workers,” said another person. “In this health-and-safety-mad world, surely, this must be a large compensation claim waiting to happen.” 

“Yes, yes, yes,” said someone else. “I am older, handicapped, and it’s very hard to walk up and down stairs.” 

“This will be money well spent on needed infrastructure to enhance the traveler’s perspective,” commented one person. 

“While it is refreshing and quaint to be outside on the tarmac on landing or before jetting off, that simply does not present a picture of a modern airport at a First World venue,” said someone else. 

“We have a rainy season, therefore, we need the Jetways/bridges,” said another respondent. 

“Amortized over time, that is an inexpensive investment into enhanced visitor experience,” commented one person.  

“I say yes, but I also know from experience that there are different types of Jetways and, therefore, they, like most products, have a significant price range,” said someone else. “We could, therefore, acquire suitable Jetways for approximately $4 million. A new terminal without Jetways is not a modern terminal, but a primitive terminal with a new facade.” 

“The fact that the island wishes to lead in medical tourism should make Jetways mandatory,” said another person. 

“What sense does it make to have this state-of-the-art airport and still have passengers walking on the runway to get in,” said one respondent. “If they are going to redevelop the airport, just do it right from the start.” 

Another 52 people – 9.2 percent – chose the response that indicated they were leaning toward agreeing with having boarding bridges. 

“If they get mobile passenger boarding ramps as a cheaper alternative, that should be fine because it will be easier to assist the disabled due to the ease of wheelchair access from the ground to the plane,” said one person. 

“Another large segment of respondents – 216 people or 38.4 percent – were against having Jetways/boarding bridges if the price tag was $20 million. 

“While I appreciate we need a larger airport to accommodate the passengers, we are losing the island feel with a new airport,” said one person. “There is no point in spending additional money because people can’t handle two minutes or less of sun/rain. Cayman would not be fiscally responsible to spend that money on a Jetway when it could be spending its money on something that is actually needed.” 

“The climate does not require them and the first impression that people should get of Cayman is walking down the aircraft stairs and experiencing the fresh air, the warm temperature, and the beauty of the surroundings,” said another person. 

“It’s a tiny airport with minimal traffic,” said someone else. “Does it need gold-plating?” 

“Would be another step toward eradicating a local feeling to Cayman,” commented one respondent. “While it might benefit the handicapped, Jetways would push Cayman another step closer to being an extension of America.” 

“There are other higher priorities,” noted another person. “Move the dump.” 

“Tourists come to Cayman for the sun and fun and returning residents are accustomed to the sun and heat,” said someone else. “Bermuda that has more rain and cooler weather does not use boarding bridges. Save the $20 million and put it towards the operations and maintenance cost of the facility once built.” 

Thirty-five people – 6.2 percent – said they were leaning toward disagreeing with having Jetways at the airport. 

“It would put too many restrictions on the type of aircraft that could use them,” said one person. “I’m more concerned that there won’t be any viewing gallery, even a glass enclosed one.” 

“Twenty million dollars is a lot of money,” said someone else. “If it is possible, I would recommend it be done at a later date.” 

Eleven people – 1.9 percent – said they were ambivalent to the issue and 20 people – 3.6 percent – said they needed more information.  

“I don’t see the need for 10 Jetways, as that is the excuse,” said one person. “Why not just do two instead of all gates?” 

Next week’s poll question 

What is your opinion of Cayman Carnival Batabano? [Explain why in comments] 

I love it! 

It’s OK. 

I’m not really a fan. 

I hate it! 

I don’t know what Batabano is. 

To participate in this poll, visit 



  1. I think one comment, “This is the only airport I have been to that doesn’t have them,” sums up how useless surveys like can be.

    In the last three years I”ve used terminals at 10 international airports in the UK, Europe and North America where they either have walk out gates to the aircraft or require ground transportation (buses) to reach remote stands. Putting Jetways in an airport the size of ORIA is a waste of resources because there are plenty of viable alternatives.

    Sadly this argument is diverting attention from the real issue, which as far as I”m concerned is the urgent need to improve passenger access to and from the existing facilities. The fact that in 2015 ORIA still doesn”t have a proper wheel chair lift or a dedicated loader is a disgrace and something that should be dealt with as a separate issue right now.

  2. To be honest, for Cayman’s airport, having mobile ramps would be the best solution in my opinion, cost wise they would be cheaper than Jetways, and provide adequate access for disabled people. – Simply put, killing two birds with one stone..

    While I’m no expert, putting some consideration to the size of our airport, I personally believe ramps are the best solution, take a look at the ramps from the website below.

    In my humble opinion, this is a cheap and sensible alternative to Jetways that will both meet the needs for disability access and passenger comfort, no need to climb stairs, just walk on a gentle slope to and from the aircraft.

  3. The person who made the comment on the Bermuda Airport did not point out that the new airport being built by the Canadian airport consortium in Bermuda utilising the Public / Private Partnership model which was rejected by CIG will have eight new Jetways. Why are Jetways good for the new Bermuda Airport but not for the new Caymanian airport?

  4. To H Jacob, I think Bermuda are spending $200mio on their airport revamp, they also already have a 2 story airport which I think is needed for the jetways and have more seasonal weather.

  5. “It’s a tiny airport with minimal traffic,” said someone else. “Does it need gold-plating?”
    Clearly this person has never travelled on a weekend – it is disgraceful what the visitors, residents and airport staff have to endure on weekends at ORIA.

  6. To Joseph King, I am afraid that you are misinformed. The new Bermuda terminal will not be in the same spot as the present one and is a new purpose built terminal, furthermore, the $200 million of financing will be through private sources and airport fees not the Bermuda Government with sovereign guarantees from the Government of Canada. In the case of the new Cayman airport the Cayman the government will be paying for it utilising public funds and significantly adding to Cayman”s public debt.