In-keeping with an age-old aviation tradition prior to an aircraft going into service, Cayman Airways’ new Saab 340B+ aircraft was formally christened on Friday, November 13, 2015 at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport (CKIA) in Cayman Brac.
The 34-seat Saab aircraft will be phased into service between Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac during November as it replaces the existing 30-seat Embraer E120, which has operated under a temporary wet-lease arrangement with InterCaribbean Airlines.
The latest model of the Saab 340 series, the B+ model features a more modern interior with larger overhead bins, comfortable leather seats and wider aisles. The active noise and vibration control system provides enhanced noise reduction to ensure that passengers are able to enjoy the roomier cabin in comfort for the quick flight between Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. Customers will also be pleased to know that with greater cargo capacity, the Saab 340B+ will be able to carry more cargo and baggage.
“After a thorough evaluation, the Saab 340B+ aircraft was selected as an ideal aircraft to provide the necessary capacity and frequency for service between Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac,” stated President and Chief Executive Officer Fabian Whorms. “This pristine aircraft which was selected, with its low operating costs and fuel efficient engines, are expected to allow Cayman Airways to enhance our service to Cayman Brac. Despite some logistical challenges along the way, we are excited to celebrate the entry of the Saab aircraft into service and look forward to delivering that Caymankind service as only Cayman Airways can.”
Deputy Premier and Minister of District Administration, Tourism, and Transport, the Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, commented: “Finding the right aircraft for Cayman Brac has been a long road, but today marks the culmination of that effort. The start of service by the Saab 340B+ heralds a great improvement in the quality of service for travelers between Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman. The 20%+ growth in Cayman Brac passengers experienced with the temporary lease of the Embraer is testament to the potential that right-sized air service can provide. I join Cayman Airways in celebrating this milestone and anticipate truly great things for the Sister Islands in the days and months ahead.”
Following a special water cannon salute by the Cayman Islands Fire Service after the plane landed, a special christening ceremony and reception was held at CKIA with a number of government dignitaries and officials in attendance, including: the Premier of the Cayman Islands and Minister of Home Affairs, Health and Culture, the Hon. Alden McLaughlin; Speaker of the House and Second Elected Member for the Sister Islands, the Hon Julianna O’Connor-Connolly; the Deputy Governor, the Hon. Franz Manderson; and the Minister for Finance and Economic Development, the Hon. Marco Archer. Also attending were various industry partners, Cayman Airways board of directors and employees, and members of the Cayman Brac community.
Entertainment was provided by the steel pan band of the Layman E. Scott High School, and the primary schools’ Combined School Choir.