Cayman Airways has canceled its flight from Cayman Brac to the eastern Cuban city of Holguin, just three months after the route was launched.
The switch is part of a reshuffle of the airline’s Cuba routes in an effort to improve “schedule reliability” following issues with delays and flight cancellations.
Twice-weekly overnight flights from Grand Cayman to Havana have been dropped.
As a result, says Cayman Airways CEO Fabian Whorms, the Holguin service, which launched Nov. 28 last year, will be replaced with a Brac-Havana flight.
“To partially offset the reduced capacity on the Havana route, the airline took the decision to suspend its Saturday service from Cayman Brac to Holguin and instead use that aircraft to operate Saturday service between Cayman Brac and Havana,” he said.
It is hoped that dropping the overnight flights between Owen Roberts International Airport and Havana will help ease delays. Cayman Airways operates a busy schedule with just four jets, and issues with delays often arise when one or more of those jets is out of service.
A total of 54 flights, out of 509 that operated between Dec. 18 and Jan. 18, were rescheduled or delayed by more than two hours because of the impact of jets being out of service, the Cayman Compass reported in January.
In a statement this week, CAL said the changes to the Cuba flights would improve its overall operational reliability and save overnight costs in Havana, which have increased significantly recently.
Mr. Whorms said the decision to suspend the Holguin flight had not been taken lightly, but was necessary for the airline’s overall operational needs.
He said the route is still in the developmental stage but has shown signs of being a success.
The last flight to Holguin departs March 26, with the Havana Service expected to begin April 2.
“Cayman Airways introduced additional frequency to Cuba on Saturdays in November 2015 to test the city of Holguin as a new gateway, on the premise that many of CAL’s passengers traveling to and from Cuba have origin and destination points in the eastern provinces of Cuba,” said Mr. Whorms.
“This new service on Saturdays was a good fit as it took advantage of the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport in Cayman Brac now being able to be utilized as an in transit point, thereby not placing any additional burden on the Owen Roberts International Airport at its busiest time of the week.
“At the same time, the new service allowed Cayman Brac to have non-stop service to and from Miami on a Saturday at a time of day which would enhance the tourism airlift available to and from Cayman Brac. The change in service from Holguin to Havana still maintains the principle of using Cayman Brac to ease congestion at the Owen Roberts International Airport and allows Cayman Airways to meet its passenger needs.”