As Cayman Airways Ltd. (CAL) is celebrating its 51st anniversary; Cayman Marl Road has been flooded with complaints against the national carrier. The number of messages about late and/or canceled flights during the high of summer travel has reached an all-time high. Some delays have been related to mechanical issues and others because of a tight flight schedule leaving little room for flexibility.
CMR has been informed that every single flight in the past 48-hours have been delayed. In the past few weeks, there has been an exorbitant number of delays according to the reports that we have received. In some instances, delays have placed travelers in a dire situation as one person recently shared with us.
It appears that with only 3 older planes in operation CAL is struggling to maintain it's current flight schedule. Customers have messaged us about excessive delays claiming often with little to no explanation to when or how the flights would be resolved. CMR has been made aware of delays largely because of the shortage of planes due to the grounding of the fleet of Boeing Max 8 planes. This has essential let to CAL having to run 3 737‑300s almost non-stop. One person shared:
The planes are running hot because it's not economically feasible for CAL to lease any other planes with the current situation. Also, chartering flights to assist with coverage is very expensive and costing the airline.
CMR received this complaint over the weekend from a concerned daughter. Her mother was on KX122 from Cayman to Maimi and had to wait from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm to depart.
So sad and very very disappointed and Shame on Cayman Airways Ltd. because they left my mother a Caymanian resident who is in a wheelchair waiting on the flight for more than 12-13 hours.
It’s a shame that they didn’t even offer assistance to comfort her after she was having back pain. No one asked if she was ok; only from passengers who were also traveling with her. She had surgery years ago so she can’t stay in one position for so long. She had to wait – seated as I said for more than 12-13 hours when she paid $500 for a ticket.
I just wanna let you know that this is the last time she will travel with Cayman Airways Ltd. and a result she was there for the whole day and they only gave $ 10.00, knowing that the airport of cayman is expensive. What is that about? Also, they should know that their airplanes aren’t running so organize yourself and have a workable timeline for your various destinations. People need to be able to travel within a reasonable amount of time. Instead, people who may not be capable of waiting for an entire day in a waiting room are left stranded.
Another passenger arrived this morning at 4:00 am after their KX 793 New York flight was delayed from yesterday afternoon. They were originally scheduled to arrive around 1:00 pm in Grand Cayman. However, after arriving at the airport they were instructed to go back to customs to collect their bags and wait on further instructions.
Eventually, they were told that anyone who booked on Expedia should attempt to get a refund and find alternative travel. Since this passenger booked with CAL directly they waited for mechanics to come from Grand Cayman to New York via Jet Blu. Remaining passengers were issued lunch vouchers for $15 and dinner vouchers for $25.
We understand that breakfast vouchers are $10.
The sister islands have not been spared the wrath of flight delays. On Saturday we were informed there were issues with the Saab as well; resulting in cancellations and delays. One American was told to go back to the airport at 4:00 am to see if they could get a fight out to Grand Cayman.
Additionally, CAL flight crew members are being placed on reserves for particular flights because of the uncertainty of the flight schedule. One person observed about the toll that this is taking on flight crew:
The flight crews must be exhausted! Working til sometimes 4am then back at it first thing in the morning. Working long hours and having to deal with unhappy customers because of delays. Please think about how hard and long these guys are working to keep our National carrier going before getting upset.
FAA regulations mandate that flight crew rest a certain amount of hours between flights depending on the route. With no immediate resolution in sight, patrons are left wondering what they can do.
With passengers waiting on a resolution it appears there will be none in the immediate future.
CAL CEO, Fabian Whorms, recently admitted to the media that the financial impact of the Max 8's being unavailable is significant. He shared:
Operating a fleet of Boeing 737‑300 aircraft, carrying 24% less passengers and burning 20% more fuel, there will certainly be an impact on the airline’s bottom line. In addition to the higher operating costs associated with our 737‑300 aircraft, the cost of using sub-service when necessary has also been significant,