History was made on Thursday February 18, 2021 as the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport (CKIA) on Cayman Brac welcomed both of Cayman Airways' new Boeing 737-8 aircraft at the same time, with the Governor, the Premier, and other Government Ministers and officials on board.
"It was a tremendously proud day for our Cayman Airways family, and I was especially thrilled to have the Governor, His Excellency Mr. Martyn Roper, ride with me aboard the first departure on VP-CIW, while the Cayman Islands Premier, the Hon. Alden McLaughlin, flew on the second departure aboard VP-CIX," said the Chairman of the Cayman Airways Board of Directors, Mr. Philip Rankin, noting that Director-General of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) also flew on a B737-8 to the Brac that day, along with other government ministers and officials. "We are excited to have these aircraft back in the air to continue our national airline's great service for our islands, especially during these challenging times."
His Excellency Governor Roper said: “Many thanks to Cayman Airways President and CEO, Fabian Whorms, for inviting me to fly to Cayman Brac on one of the B737-8 jets. I even got to join the Captains Adrian Rex Miller, Steven Coe, Perry Panton and Senior First Officer Geoffrey Conolly in the cockpit. The huge importance Cayman Airways rightly gives to passenger safety was evident throughout. They are an incredible team and having seen them at close quarter I am full of awe about what they do, their professionalism and skill! These planes are clearly some of the safest in the air. CAL has a great record. They are a national treasure and I would like to congratulate them on their excellent public outreach.”
Also on the trip were members of the Cayman media, members of the Cayman Airways Board of Directors, the Cayman Airways President and CEO along with other members of the airline’s Executive Team, and Government employees, officials, and ministers, including: Minister of Public Finance and Economic Development, the Hon. Roy McTaggart; Minister of Health, Environment, Culture, and Housing, the Hon. Dwayne Seymour; Member of Parliament and Councilor to the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Sports, Mr. David Wight; and Member of Parliament and Deputy Speaker, Mrs. Barbara Conolly.
Cayman Islands Premier and Minister for Employment, Border Control, Community Affairs, International Trade, Investment, Aviation & Maritime Affairs, the Hon. Alden McLaughlin, said: “I'm pleased that the Cayman Airways Boeing 737-8 jets are now able to return to service. These jets have probably undergone the most scrutiny ever given to an aircraft in civil aviation history. I was happy to share the experience of the flight with our residents on Cayman Brac and they had the opportunity to tour the plane and ask questions of the pilots and crew. His Excellency the Governor and members of Government travelled on the flight, highlighting the confidence they feel in the airplanes' safety and the ability to return these jets to service. I look forward to the day when we can safely open our borders and put these jets into full service bringing tourists to our shores.”
The aircraft were parked at CKIA for about three hours, with pilots and flight attendants offering Cayman Brac students and residents tours of the aircraft interior and flight deck. Residents and students also got the chance to ask pilots questions directly, on board as well as at special informative sessions in the departure lounge where there were also branded CAL giveaways.
A special Caribbean lunch was provided for all attendees, complements of the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism, and Transport.
Deputy Premier and Minister for District Administration, Tourism, and Transport, the Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, commented: We're extremely pleased with the upgrade of the fleet, moving from the Boeing 737-300's to the Boeing 737-8's. As the representative for Cayman Brac West and Little Cayman, it's a very special feeling when you see the Cayman Airways colours land on the runway, and when you see the support staff, when you see the Caymanian pilots come off the planes, it has to make everyone extremely proud. And we're very proud that they flew over today. It's a good day for us, a very proud day with hundreds of people in Cayman Brac, including school students, having the opportunity to walk through the plane and talk to the pilots and crew."
The event was held on the eve of the airline's Boeing 737-8 fleet officially returning to revenue service - the first revenue flight was repatriation flight KX3102 departing Grand Cayman at 10am for Miami on Friday February 19, 2021.