In 1955, a small airline was started by the Costa Rican carrier LACSA primarily to provide air service between the Cayman Islands. Thirteen years later, in 1968, that airline, Cayman Brac Airways, was purchased by the Cayman Islands Government and renamed to Cayman Airways. With the introduction of Cayman Airways, the role of the airline was expanded and we would ultimately connect the Cayman Islands to the world. In the 48 years since Cayman Airways came into being, its focus has continued to be one that provides optimal air service within the three Cayman Islands and to the world. At the end of last year, our newest aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, touched down at Owen Roberts International Airport in front of hundreds of well-wishers, all eagerly waiting in our hanger at the official christening ceremony.
The B737-800 and its entirely-Caymanian flight crew took the long trip from Budapest, Hungary to Shannon, Ireland, where the iconic Cayman Airways crest and livery were applied, then on to Halifax, Canada, before landing in the Cayman Islands on December 2, 2016.
Following an island-wide fly over, the touchdown of the 737-800 was not only a spectacular moment to witness, but it marked a milestone for Cayman Airways. Its arrival represents the first step in the modernization of our entire fleet, and our journey into the future of Cayman’s air travel.
Our Fleet Modernization Plan will see our entire fleet of Boeing 737-300 aircraft retired and replaced by new, state of the art, Boeing 737-8 Max by the end of 2020. The just-added 737-800 aircraft is a bridge aircraft that will allow us to smoothly transition from our current fleet to the new 737-8 Max aircraft. Seeing Cayman Airways progress is not only important for us here at the airline, but it ensures that Cayman Airways is able to continue delivering its critical economic value to the country and continuing its focus of providing optimal air service for the Cayman Islands.
Whilst we celebrate our achievements of 2016, we are confident that 2017 will continue to see us grow and develop. At Cayman Airways, we still believe that flying should be enjoyable for our passengers and so we remain dedicated to providing excellent value for money, delivering unique travel experiences and serving up true Caymanian hospitality. Our complimentary rum punch, free meals on flights over two hours, and generous baggage allowance of two free checked bags up to 55lbs each, are examples of this commitment, and reminds us all that Caymankind is so much more than a national slogan — for Cayman Airways and its family of employees, it’s a way of life.
On behalf of the entire Cayman Airways family, thank you for flying with us today and I wish you all the best for the year ahead. We hope to see you again soon!
President & CEO, Cayman Airways Ltd.