(CMR) The national airline, Cayman Airways Ltd., appears to continue to struggle with delayed flights and an assortment of issues despite being complete mum on real-time delays and flight cancellations.
Over the past several months there appears to be an increase in the number of delayed flights because of either mechanical or technical issues. Cayman Marl Road is only made aware of the issues because of passengers contacting us. At no point does CAL make any real-time public announcements as to the cause of the delays or even that delays are occurring.
Yesterday, XK 792 destined for John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York had to make an unplanned emergency landing in Charleston, South Carolina. There is no mention of this on the airline's website as of this article. These incidents are starting to cause many to be concerned about the aging fleet.
However, there appears to be an undated press lease posted which states that a Cayman Airways Boeing 737-300 that has been out of service for the last two weeks is scheduled to be returned to service across this weekend. Whilst there's no specific date – we assume that was month-end.
It further than that:
“The aircraft has been off island at the airlineâ€™s heavy maintenance provider, having a structural repair accomplished on an area of the fuselage that was found damaged on the morning of Sunday, July 15, by Cayman Airways maintenance personnel in New York.”
The damage was not evident on the arrival inspection of the aircraft on Saturday, July 14 and it appears to have occurred overnight while the aircraft had been secured and parked. The damage discovered is consistent with the impact of an airport ramp vehicle or an item of ground support equipment and an investigation into when and how the aircraft was damaged has been in progress.
Cayman Airways was unable to secure any temporary aircraft to fulfill the flights scheduled for this aircraft while it has been out service, so the Airline has been operating its scheduled operation with one aircraft short.Â Passengers traveling on flights on the weekend of July 20-22, therefore, encountered delays, as will some passengers traveling over the weekend of July 27-30, as Cayman Airways works diligently to ensure that all passengers are accommodated.
â€śIrregular operations and delays are never pleasant for our valued passengers, nor for our dedicated staff and crew, but it is particularly frustrating when it was caused by our aircraft being hit by a third party while parked on the ground,â€ť commented Cayman Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, Fabian Whorms.Â â€śThe team at Cayman Airways has spent many hours working on alternate schedules and arrangements to ensure that all of our passengers got to their final destination and we certainly appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers over these two busy weekends.Â By Monday, July 30 we expect to have operations fully back to normal.â€ť
Despite this detailed, after the fact press release, many have been critical of the airline not advising passengers in advance of mechanical issues likely to cause flight delays. One the person commented:
“It may be high time for government to start regulating CAL and forcing it to advise customers of known issues. After all, for many of us there are limited options to get off island and these delays and cancellations can have far reaching implications for business travelers and connecting flights.”
Cayman Airways just celebrated it's 50th anniversary as the national carrier but came under ridicule by many on social media who made fun of the unimpressed “sale” prices being advertised – in some cases boasting a mere savings of $30 on a round trip ticket.