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Cayman plane-spotters will have a rare treat this weekend when Cayman Airways Limited (CAL) conducts a flight with one of its 737-8 Max aircraft, as a necessary part of its maintenance program. 

CAL’s two Max aircraft have been in an active maintenance program and have not flown since the airline voluntary grounded its fleet in March 2019, becoming the first airline in the world to do so. 

The maintenance flight of VP-CIW, operating from Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA), will be operated by Captain Stephen Coe and Captain Perry Panton. Joining the flight will be an observer from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) and a representative from the manufacturer. The date for the maintenance flight of the second Max (VP-CIX) is yet to be determined, but will occur by early March. 

“For almost a year, the grounded Max aircraft have been maintained under an active storage maintenance program as specified by the Manufacturer,” explained CAL President and CEO, Fabian Whorms, himself a former aircraft engineer. “Routine maintenance flights become necessary over time as part of this maintenance program and are being conducted in coordination with the CICAA and Boeing. The exact day and time of the flight for VP-CIW will depend on clearance times provided by Air Traffic Control to avoid airport congestion at ORIA, but likely to be late Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning.”

Mr. Whorms added: “In addition to the upcoming maintenance flights, we are planning to shortly ferry VP-CIW to a US-based maintenance and storage facility to conduct some required maintenance work and to prepare the aircraft for return to service, which is generally expected to occur later this year. Our second Max, VP-CIX, which has not conducted any commercial flights since its March 2019 delivery, does not require the same level of maintenance at this time and will remain in the current active storage maintenance program on Grand Cayman.”