CAL says not at fault over Honduran airline dispute

| 16/12/2008

(CNS): The dispute regarding passengers stranded in both Cayman and Honduras as a result of Atlantic Airways’ failure to operate its scheduled flights has escalated to involve charter airline Rollins Air, and now the National Flag Carrier, Cayman Airways, has denied allegations that it had reneged on promises. "It is unfortunate that Rollins Air has sought to misrepresent the facts for their own benefit at the expense of CAL’s reputation,” Cayman Airways CEO Designate Olson Anderson  has said.

Refuting allegations made by Rollins Air representative Romellia Welcome in relation to alleged promises made by CAL, Anderson said the allegations had caused great distress to CAL staff who were working to assist the charter firm in moving passengers. “However, before we can commit, Rollins Air has to show some responsibility and provide the proper documentation," Anderson noted.

The problem appears to revolve around the fact that a handling contract was received by Cayman Airways from Rollins Air by email on Saturday evening, 13 December, but the request for a charter was only received after 8:00 am yesterday morning (Monday 15 December).  Since receipt of this necessary paperwork, however, CAL said that it has been doing everything within its operational allowances to accommodate the passengers who had been inconvenienced .

Rollins Air reportedly was attempting on Friday night to fly out some of the more than 200 Honduran passengers who have been stranded both here and in Honduras for nearly three weeks following the failure of  Atlantic Airways to operate its scheduled flights because of legal issues in Honduras that are preventing it from operating.

Many of these passengers turned up at the Legislative Assembly on Friday morning demand help to return home. Tourism Minister Charles Clifford had reportedly told them that a contract could be signed that would enable them to fly out on Rollins Air using Cayman Airways staff to check in the passengers, but it did not happen as hoped on Friday night as a result of a incorrect documentation.

Romellia Welcome, representative of Rollins Air, said that  following discussions on Friday with Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts and Clifford at the Legislative Assembly, a flight could take off that night once an International Air Transport Association contract was signed with Cayman Airways. However, Welcome said on Friday evening that she had been told  by Cayman Airways that no contract could be signed by Rollins Air and the airlift would not be able to happen. “They are running me around and around. All these people were at the airport today. They were told to come back Sunday at 10:00 pm,” she said at the time.

Welcome had reportedly asked Cayman Airways for help in checking in passengers to enable them to fly on the Rollins Air special charter but she was told the airline would not help. And she said she was told her she could not sign a contract with CAL. Aside from a desire by some passengers simply to be home for Christmas it is reported that some of the passengers are now passed their legal right to stay in the Cayman Islands.

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  1. Roy Lowey says:

    Letter to Cayman Airways CEO

     

     
     
     
    Dear Mr. Anderson,
     
    I am an associate of Capt. Rollins owner/operator of Rollins Air and a long time airline veteran….A major portion of my career has been with industry icon Sir Freddie Laker. My name is also well known to many Cayman Airways former staff including Rick Blake and my long time friend (now deceased) Bob Weir.
    Over the years much of my time spent in Grand Cayman was to help formulate a code-share plan between Rollins Air and Cayman Airways. This was of course at a time when Cayman’s aircraft were dedicated to more lucrative routes and Cayman Airways eventually ceased providing service to Honduras. Whereas, Rollins Airways along with others were in it for the long term and continued providing essential air service between Honduras and Grand Cayman…..Not without some peaks and valleys I might add, which is not uncommon in our industry…
     
    Today it has come to my attention through Capt Rollins and Norma Connelly of the Caymanian Compass that there appears to be a delay in processing the paper work regarding ground handling for Rollins Air in Grand Cayman by Cayman Airways. The ground handling agreement as outlined in the email below between Cayman Airways and Rollins is required by the Civil Aviation Authority in Honduras for reciprocity purposes. It would appear to be in the best interest of the people and both companies to move forward to resolve this issue in an expeditious manner, thereby restoring this essential air service between the two countries. 
     
    Capt Rollins assures me that his paper work request to Cayman Airways for ground handling and to the governing authorities has been submitted in a timely manner. Additionally, an official from Cayman Airways has inspected the Rollins Air facilities and ground support equipment in Honduras, approved them so Rollins Air can provide similar ground handling services for Cayman Airways in Honduras.  
     
    As one professional to another I ask that you to kindly look into and review this matter on behalf of all involved…especially for those who I understand are currently stranded in Grand Cayman. 
     
    Look forward to your response and hopefully working together in the near future toward mutual cooperation.
     
    Best regards,
     
    Roy Lowey
    On behalf of Rollins Air
    +1 941 739-3782
  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes thank you NHB! I don’t think Cayman Airways should be dragged into this mess either. As you said, let Rollins Air and Atlantic Air sort out their own mess and don’t try to drag Cayman Airways into this mess they have created! And the people shouldn’t expect Cayman Airways to bail them out either. This is their airlines problem so go argue with them and sort it out and leave Cayman Airways out of it!

  3. NHB says:

     

    If I recall didn’t Cayman Airways attempt this route before and lost there pant’s down there, along with the goverment’s in place down there almost wanting to confiscate or planes out of hate and jelousey and how did a freind of mine tell me when I asked why is she not flying Cayman Airways to central america when they were "who me I don’t support nothing caymanian I need to support my latino people" well there people supported them this time I’m shocked these people had the balls to step into our Legislative Assembly building what the heck do you think would have will happened to the Caymanians in Houndorus if they were to go do that down there now and we have them stuck down there right now as well and I don’t see the Houndoranian goverment arranging any flights for them they had better be glad we are bending backwords for there plight because as caymanian’s a lot of us is feed up with whining people in this country expecting there gripes to be pleased and satisfied this is nothing or goverment or tax dollors should be wasted on make atlantic airways and rollin air fix this mess not blemish and smear Cayman Airways they are trying to help not be the troble maker  

  4. Charles Ebanks says:

    good point on Washington DC; I recall an advertisement for a $99 US one way fare to Washington on Cayman Airways – that’s a 3 hour flight.   LaCeiba is almost $240 US one way on Atlantic for an hour and a quarterflight.  If the flights are full, what type of analyis has to be done to validate that route?

    Maybe Cayman Airways needs more regional routes to stop the bleeding and stop having our tax dollars subsidizing poorly thought out routes.

  5. Jedi Dread says:

    Of course it’s CAL’s Fault!!!

    Cayman Airways should have been all over the Honduras route from a long time.

    Thank the Father, that someone at CAL ist thinking.. and I know have the chance to fly to and from Honduras and Cayman in a Nice & Clean, Reliable Aircraft, with some of the Best Pilots in the world.

    —-

    Every time I flew to Honduras on Atlantic Airlines, the flight was full of Passengers and Cargo, both ways. The cost of a round trip ticket is KYD400.00. Yes, C I, $400.00.

    And believe me, she didn’t look like the most reliable 737 to be a passenger on. When boarding the aircraft, it always had that ‘urine’ smell.

    I preferred Islena Airlines and the de Havilland Dash 8 (now  Bombardier), it took almost three hours, but the plane smelt better, however they stopped flying as well.  So we were stuck with the uselessness of Atlantic Airlines.

    Where was Cayman Airways then? Crying about not making money, and borrowing more.

    Washington??? Chicago??? Stick to the region, man. There’s no way I would fly to DC on a 737. I’ll take the 75′ and enjoy a better business class.

    C’mon, all someone had to do, was look at how full the flights to Honduras were! It’s not rocket science, just keeping Check (check, in Chess, is an immediate threat to capture the king) on your competitors.

    – Jedi Dread –