“In my opinion, what was originally recommended was excessive and defies logic given the evidence provided and our low-risk status under the current circumstances.”
Johann Moxam, Chairman of CIAA Board
(CMR) Frustrated travelers may soon get some relief at the Owen Robert International Airport when curbside drop-off and pick-up are allowed once again. CMR exclusive sources have indicated that the Cayman Islands Airport Authority (CIAA) is working on a solution to return curbside service for travelers after it was halted on August 31, 2021.
The change was met with complaints from travelers who are currently parking in the short-term parking lot to pick up and drop off travelers at the airport. This has often left them exposed to the elements when the tropical downpours ensued during the rainy season. Travelers with reduced mobility were also not pleased with the bank on curbside access.
There was considerable public criticism that UK forces both locally and abroad were forcing this change on the CIAA with no legitimate reason for concern. One person observed, “the current security system has worked for decades, so it appears odd that this would have been a priority for them.”
It has been argued that the risk profile at ORIA and Cayman Brac's Charles Kirkconnell International Airport is considered low. The UK appears to be requiring this new procedure of all the Overseas Territories. It has also been shared by sources that the cost of complying with the recommended changes would range between $4-12 million.
Now CIAA has confirmed that they are in talks with the governor's office and UK regulators along with the support of the new board of directors to find a more amicable solution while still maintaining adequate security controls.
The requirement is that no “unvetted” vehicles are to be permitted within 30 meters of the terminal building. The current policy allows for taxi drivers to now wait for curbside to collect passengers and it is said to have been implemented because of security concerns emanating out of the United Kingdom's CIAA airport security regulators, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). CIAA indicated that the same policy has been in place in the United Kingdom for a number of years now.
Authorized vehicles include airport taxis, pre-booked bus operators and limousines and tour bus operators, which are considered “vetted” vehicles, having gone through a rigorous airport and Public Transport screening and licensing process, whereas private vehicles are considered “unvetted” vehicles. Only authorized vehicles are permitted curb-side access in front of the terminal building.
According to the newly appointed chairman, Johann Moxam:
“The CIAA has been in discussions with the relevant authorities and have provided proposed solutions that are logical and cost effective. The proposed solutions have also been presented to Cabinet and are now with the Governor’s office as discussions continue.”
He further explained that that the changes had been mandated in part through the Governor’s office which has the Constitutional responsibility for National Safety & Security concerns including ALL ports of entry in the Cayman Islands. However, both the CIAA's Board of Directors and management at the airport wish to see the matter resolved satisfactorily.
The new changes could come as early February or March of 2022.