Cayman Airways celebrated the arrival of a second new Saab prop plane this week, initially to service the route between Grand Cayman and the Brac.
The airline is also preparing a business case on the feasibility of using the new 34-seater plane on a route to Montego Bay in Jamaica.
Initially the aircraft will supplement and provide backup to the Saab plane that has been operating the express service to the Brac since November last year. The Saab planes have been phased in to replace the smaller Twin Otter aircraft, which are still used on the Little Cayman route.
Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell, speaking at the christening of the new plane on Tuesday, said the increased comfort and added seating capacity of the new aircraft had already led to a 16 percent increase in passenger arrivals on the Brac. He said the additional plane would help ensure more passengers could travel to the Brac on whatever date and time they preferred.
Combined with enhancements to the Charles Kirkconnell Airport and the opening of a new ticket office, cargo office and reservations center, he said, government’s investment was paying off for the Brac economy.
He said 37 jobs had been created, including at Cayman Airways, in the fire department, at Customs and Immigration and at the Airports Authority, as a result of the upgrades to the fleet and airport.
“Looking at the airport expansion, the increased arrivals, the jobs created and the developments taking place, the evidence is all around us that the future is looking brighter for tourism in Cayman Brac,” he said.
The plane is the latest upgrade to Cayman Airways’ fleet, which is undergoing a major overhaul. All four jets operating on the airline’s international routes will be replaced with new state-of-the-art aircraft over the next four years. The first of the new jets is expected this year.