Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan has said government is working towards unlocking borders before Christmas and he was hopeful American Airlines could resume flights to Grand Cayman at that time.

However, Bryan, speaking with the Cayman Compass Friday afternoon after meeting with American Airlines officials virtually, said while the major US carrier was “excited” and ready to return to service in Grand Cayman, officials said they need at least 60 days’ notice to initiate flight resumptions.

Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan

“This would mean we would need to make an announcement within the next week or so… so they can start to prepare. We are trying our best as a government to get to that announcement,” Bryan said.

This week, American Airlines officials, in response to Compass queries, confirmed the airline had cancelled its planned December return to Grand Cayman, shifting focus to February 2022.

“Due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19, we’ve paused flights to GCM and expect to resume service in February 2022,” American Airlines senior specialist global communications Brian Metham told the Compass.

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Premier Wayne Panton this week said government will give one month’s notice of its reopening plans.

Meeting went well

Bryan said he spoke to the regional representatives of the airline who said they did not want to have to cancel flights. They added they would try to restart as soon as possible once an official announcement was made.

He said he advised them that if they were unable to restart at that time, Cayman Airways stood ready to pick up some of the slack on the key routes, such between Dallas and Grand Cayman.

“We do not want to have that loss for Cayman as a destination… It was important for them to know that, not that we are trying to step on their toes,” he said.

Bryan said the relationship with American Airlines had to be positive and “not hostile” and it was important to discuss with them about Cayman Airways filling in with flights not yet reinstated by the US carrier.

“They understand, they were cool with it,” he said, adding he was encouraged that officials said they will do everything they can to restart flights within their capacity of operations.

“It is not like they do not want to be here. They have expressed that they are quite saddened to have cancelled flights. They are excited to come back as soon as they can,” he added.

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  1. I’m very hopeful. It’s easy to forget how frequently we all traveled in the past. To Miami, to New York, to London. Any of us can surely recall going through the airport and seeing friends, neighbors, colleagues and competitors on our flight. While many people in Cayman may not travel much, all the things around us that we enjoy here, come from other people’s travels and business overseas. You need the airplanes to bring people and money back and forth. Consultants and specialists need to be able to come and bring their advice to help us build things. Financial services need to be able to take meetings in person (for tax reasons). How many times did a wealthy business owner come on a dive trip only to decide to set up his offshore companies here? In Cayman it all works together like that. We need local business people to be able to go away, so they can bring money back and quarantine periods are not practical. I recall personally taking a trip back and forth to Miami on Monday/Tuesday only to leave for New York or LA on Wednesday and be back in time for Sunday with family. Cayman benefitted from my toil and productivity. Little stories like that are how our economy got to where it is. This last crazy 2 year period was an anomaly – it’s completely unsustainable. We all paid for it with debt, we paid for it with missed opportunity, and we hurt ourselves by not being brave and opening a little bit sooner. We are now quite late, and need to get because smart people see the problem and are leaving or planning to leave if we stay closed. We need to get open so we can build back. Every day we stay closed, when the rest of the World is open (managing this situation) is bad for Cayman. This is the most hopeful announcement I have read publicly from government since the pandemic began. Thanks for announcing it.

  2. The airlines are tired of this YO YO as well. They gave up on servicing cayman. Not a shock that they are not jumping to resume service this time. Government needs to get their plans together and stick to it.

  3. How about United Airlines. I was all booked to
    come down on there nonstop flight on 12/11.
    If they are opening the borders they need to really work and do it much quicker than November 1 hard for people to then get reservations what about your Chicago flight used to fly to from Chicago to Grand Cayman and Cayman Airlines this was a beautiful flight

  4. “He said he advised them that if they were unable to restart at that time, Cayman Airways stood ready to pick up some of the slack on the key routes, such between Dallas and Grand Cayman.” One BIG problem with this Kenneth; most Texans have the CDC card as proof of vaccination. Flights from DFW to GCM won’t be full until you accept the CDC vaccine card. It won’t matter if it’s AA or CAL, if people are not allowed to enter without a 14 day quarantine they are not coming.

    And another problem; DFW is not going to jump at the chance to allow CAL to take the route from DFW to GCM, it’s not as simply as saying, “Hey we want CAL to fly the route AA was flying.” A lot of planning is required to make this sort of thing happen, it takes time. If you are thinking CAL can simply start flying DFW to GCM at the drop of a hat you are sadly mistaken.

    It is my opinion that CIG has changed the path so often it will be difficult to believe they will stick to any reopening plan or date. The boy who cried wolf comes to mind.

  5. I mean, what’s there to say?? How can they trust this government?? You have refused to follow the science from the very beginning of this thing & now Cayman is back to square one. Covid on Cayman is going to get much worse before it gets better. That is the way it works. Granted there will not be as many deaths as other places because of the high rate of vaccination. Thank God. But it is something that cannot he stopped or denied. Cayman must live with it like the rest of the world and rejoin society and get on with their lives. The sooner the better.

  6. They really need to make their minds up.
    Local businesses will currently have a “double whammy” over Christmas. Not only the absence of tourists but there are many locals whose family was coming here but now can’t.
    So these locals are now leaving over Christmas, not spending their money here, to see their overseas families and friends.

  7. Everything is contingent upon Cayman dropping its requirement for the nebulous “verified” vaccine proof and accept ALL vaccinated Americans. Require a negative PCR test 72 hours before entry and open up. If there is any quarantine requirement for vaccinated people don’t waste your time opening up.