The airport expansion on Cayman Brac, along with a new plane and more flights in and out of Charles Kirkconnell International Airport, means 21 new jobs for the island, Tourism Minister and Sister Islands MLA Moses Kirkconnell said.
The minister, speaking at a ceremony at the airport named after his uncle, said the airport has hired more firefighters and immigration and customs officers. Mr. Kirkconnell said Cayman Airways has added nine jobs for its call center and to work on the airport ramp.
He said the effort “is an investment in our future.” The minister said he hopes the upgraded airport and better service to the Brac on the new Cayman Airways plane will mean more tourists visiting the island, leading to more jobs and improvement to the economy.
Brac air arrivals up 20 percent
Premier Alden McLaughlin, who was on the Brac Friday to welcome the new Cayman Airways prop plane, said arrivals on the Brac are up 20 percent as the airline has added capacity to its Sister Islands flights.
The new Saab 340B+ will be able to carry 34 passengers, up from 30 in the current Embraer plane, and double the capacity for cargo to the Brac. Cayman Airways officials say the plane will be phased into active service through the end of November.
The airline also plans to buy a second Saab to boost service and to act as a backup during maintenance work.
Mr. Kirkconnell said the airport “is the starting point … to trigger more jobs.” He pointed to a project to add more rooms to the Reef Resort on the Brac and construction at the site of the future Le Soleil d’Or luxury hotel as an example of how the Brac economy can grow with better facilities for visitors.
Of the 21 new jobs, four are with the Brac fire service, five with the Cayman Airports Authority, three with District Administration and nine at the Cayman Airways reservation office.
New Brac routes
Along with the new plane and recent airport upgrades, Cayman Airways is adding new Saturday flights to and from Miami and Cuba.
Direct flights to Miami will begin this weekend, with one flight to and from the city each Saturday. Flights from the Brac to Holguin, a city in eastern Cuba, will begin at the end of the month, with service every Saturday.
Cayman Airways CEO Fabian Whorms, speaking last month, said the route to Cuba’s east will give the airline access to some of Cuba’s most populous cities.
“Many of the airline’s existing Havana passengers, many of whom are from Cuba’s eastern towns, will be able to utilize this direct service and avoid lengthy travel between the capital city and their hometowns,” Mr. Whorms said.
The one-hour flight will leave the Brac at 1:30 p.m., stop in Cuba for an hour and return to the Brac by 4:30 p.m., airline officials said.