Four senior Caymanian Boeing 737-8 First Officers are in the pipeline for upgrade to Captain on the B737-8 fleet within the next 18 months at Cayman Airways, having each already been assessed for their captaincy and command potential. These upgrades are part of the airline’s normal succession planning to replace Captains that retired in 2021, and to address future pilot needs.
The Caymanian pilots who may soon be flying “left seat” on the B737-8 fleet for Cayman Airways are First Officers Troy McCoy, Tarik Goring, Brian Seales, and Geoffrey Connolly.
“We remain dedicated to playing our part in the advancement of their flying careers by providing the training necessary for their continued career advancement in a timeline that’s also based on the airline’s needs and continued growth,” said Cayman Airways President and CEO, Fabian Whorms, explaining as an example, that the addition of new routes like Los Angeles (LAX) this November, and the recent retirement of some long-serving Captains, have contributed to recent succession plan adjustments to cover the airline’s operational needs. “We expect the upgrades to be completed for at least one of the four candidates in 2022, and the remainder in 2023.”
To address the airline’s more immediate and temporary need for at least one additional Captain to cover the anticipated increases in flying for the B737-8 fleet this Winter, coupled with the challenges presented by scarce B737-8 simulator availability for required training through the Winter of 2022/2023 for the four other candidates, Mr. Whorms said that previously-qualified Caymanian pilot Kel Thompson was recently reinstated to Captain from his First Officer position for the remainder of his career – he retires from flying at age 65 in late February 2023.
“Reinstating Captain Thompson provided an extremely low-cost and easily achievable solution in the fastest possible manner for the airline. As a very experienced former jet Captain and training supervisor himself, the training requirements to reinstate his Captaincy were significantly less than what was necessary to upgrade a First Officer for the first time to a jet Captain, which also meant that the cost to the company was minimal,” Mr. Whorms explained. “We were actually pleased that Captain Thompson applied to be reinstated to the position of Captain, given that he was essentially already qualified and his promotion would not only be a quick way to address the current temporary need for an additional Captain, but his promotion would also logistically assist with expediting the training and promotion of the other local First Officers who have applied for the upgrade.”
Mr. Whorms said that contrary to information circulating in mainstream and social media, Captain Thompson will not be deriving any additional material retirement benefits as a result of this upgrade when he retires in early 2023, nor has his upgrade resulted in any displacement, bypassing, or delays with the promotion of any other current First Officers.