Last updated: 02:52 PM ET, Wed April 27 2016

Cayman Airways Expansion Follows 'Strategic' Plan

Destination & Tourism | Brian Major | April 26, 2016

Cayman Airways Expansion Follows 'Strategic' Plan

Photo courtesy of Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

Cayman Airways, The Cayman Islands’ national carrier, recently announced an expansion program that will add one 737-800 aircraft to the airline’s fleet in November, followed by a “phased-in approach” that will add four 737-800 aircraft to the state-owned carrier’s fleet between 2018 and 2020.

When complete, the enlarged Cayman Airways fleet will possess “the range to reach all major areas of the United States [and] most of Canada,” said Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) officials in a statement. The larger fleet will also enable the airline “to investigate development of gateways south of the Cayman Islands.”

Cayman Airways currently transports 43 percent of all visitors arriving in the Cayman Islands. The revamped fleet will feature an additional 40 seats per plane, per flight compared with the current fleet’s capacity. Officials promised an “updated, more modern” fleet with “inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi” options for passengers.

“This modernization will give our national airline the newest fleet in the region,” said Moses Kirkconnell, the Cayman Islands’ deputy premier and minister of tourism. Kirkconnell said the enlarged fleet will also “contribute to the growth in tourism via air arrivals as we prepare the airport to accommodate more visitors.”

READ MORE: Getting to the Cayman Islands is Easier Than Ever

He added the airline’s expansion is part of a “strategic plan” to ignite tourism growth in the country. “The government is using Cayman Airways to grow our country’s tourism and by adding more seats with these new planes, we are going to bring more people for stay over tourism,” he said.

“The fleet modernization provides an excellent benefit for the economy through increased visitation and it will help sustain the future of tourism in the Cayman Islands,” added Rosa Harris, CIDOT’s director.

The airline’s expansion is the latest in a series of government-backed programs that seek to dramatically expand the Cayman Islands’ air and sea visitor arrivals. The territory is in the midst of a major renovation of Owen Roberts International Airport and is planning a new $150 million cruise ship pier development in Grand Cayman.

Additionally CIDOT officials are hopeful developer Dart Realty’s recent purchase of the former Grand Cayman Hyatt Britannia Resort will ignite resort development across the destination. Dart is also building the Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa, a 266-room property slated to open in the fall.

In September the government announced an agreement with developer John David Layton to build a 200-room hotel on Beach Bay in Grand Cayman’s Bodden Town district, with construction slated to begin this year.

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