New airline service boosts Canadian arrivals

| 03/01/2011

(CNS): According to the latest statistics from the Department of Tourism the start of the WestJet service appears to have provided a significant boost to the air passenger arrivals from Canada. The November 2010 tourism figures reveal that air passenger arrivals were up by 2537 on November 2009 with the largest increase being from Canada. The number of passengers flying into the Cayman Islands from that country increased by 43.1% on the previous year. There was also an increase in air passengers of more than 12% during November from the United States. Cruise visitors were also on the up with a 30% increase on 2009 figures for November.

The DoT figures revealed that 154,258 cruise passengers called on Cayman in November 2010 compared with 118,292 in November 2009. The total number of accumulated passengers arriving in Cayman for 2010 so far is now at 1,422,245 setting the scene for the best year for cruise visitors since 2007.

Although air passenger arrivals for the whole of 2010 are not likely to break any records if December has a similar percentage increase will ensure an improvement on 2009’s figures. Air arrivals also increase from Europe by over 3% and only visitors from UK & Ireland declined where 24 less people came to Cayman.

WestJet, which is a seasonal service started on 5 November and flies between Toronto and Grand Cayman three times per week.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    "The DoT figures revealed that 154,258 cruise passengers called on Cayman"

    How many of these passengers actually came ashore? Why hasnt anyone got around to counting how many get off the ship?

  2. Anonymous says:

    BA shares the Cayman route with Nassau for purely commercial reasons, period. The Nassau stop is not a tech stop, when they take fuel there it is simply because it’s cheaper than purchasing in Cayman.  A conversation with BA will verify this.

    Quite simply, an expanded Terminal building in Grand Cayman is a greater priority than a longer runway.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We’re only one mishap away from an existing airline taking a close look at what kind of runway infrastructure we have here.  What would happen if American pulled out? or US Air?  or Delta?  Why wouldn’t we invest in the one door to the outside world – our airport and runway? With less cruise arrivals, stay over has never been more vital…  Let’s pave a runway the airlines can be proud to land on. Turks have a good runway,  lets build one like that.

  4. Anonymous says:

    To all you aviation/airport experts. Most of the world’s current long-haul aircraft fleet can operate quite comfortably on our 7000+ foot runway at maximum take off weight. Why? While you all are throwing your ‘expert’ opinions around regarding runway extension and not keeping up with the industry, aircraft technology and performance has continuously improved. While any pilot would appreciate extra runway in front of him/her, a runway extension at GCM to accommodate non-stop transatlantic/transcontinental flights is not a necessity. But, before the runway is extended to accommodate 300+ pax aircraft, the Terminal must be expanded. What is the sense of bringing a A340 load of passengers and have them lined-up outside?  Before you blow your expert horns, familiarize yourself with the reality.   


    • Anonymous says:

      This isnt quite factual.  While most ("many’ would be a better adjective) long-haul flights can operate on a (dry, without crosswind) 7,000 foot runway, it is at the margin, and with cutting fuel to the margin.   This is well below the recommended length published by Boeing (which recommends between 8,500 feet and 12,000 feet).  The absence of a diversionary runway within 200 miles is a big issue as well.

      The runway was lengthened 15 years ago to accommodate BA, but even with that, BA needs to make a stop in Bahamas to top up fuel.  

      No airline is going to go heavy and throw a bird up from here direct to Paris on a 7,000 foot runway.   

      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed.  A large plane (not recommended fully loaded with pax or fuel) can certainly takeoff with 7,000 feet of runway, but additional margin is needed during the takeoff roll to enable braking from V1 in the case of an engine failure.  

        You can come in heavy on 7,000 feet but wouldnt recommend taking off heavy on 7,000 feet as a common practice.   The airliners are simply not going to schedule direct long hauls on 7,000 feet.   Period. 



      • Heavy Pilot says:

        Also not factual.  BA "can" fly direct.  They don’t come direct because of the economics dictate a stop in Nassau. You can get by without a diversionary runway although it’s nice to have one.

    • Heavy Pilot says:

      No bucks, no Buck Rogers. I’d like to agree with the other two pilots here.  You can technically achieve takeoffs and in 7000ft but 9000 is a minimum for adverse weather, crosswinds and safety margin at landing.  No pubically traded carrier is going to walk into the liability that comes with sending heavies into a 7000ft strip.  Princess Juliana has had problems for years and you don’t get as many of those dramatic hair of the teeth landings (photos) as you used to because of the risks associated with sending in the bigplanes.  If you you want the carriers you know and love to send in their biggest shiny planes on a regular basis, then your government better swallow hard and pave 2000 feet of concrete, and the taxi-ways and aprons to park’em.  You could not invest a better dollar though. Build the runway and the airlines will come; and the passengers will pay for the terminals for you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Please, please Westjet, make at least one flight per week from Western Canada (such as your Calgary hub).  Guaranteed you would fill that flight up each and every week. 

    • Calgarian says:

      I’d go at least a few times a year out of Calgary.  A reasonably-priced nice vacation package or two for, say, a long weekend at a SMB hotel would probably sell fairly well.

      • Jack says:

        Who’s the wanker that thumbs-downed a potential tourist saying they would come and enjoy a nice vacation in Cayman a few times a year?  Jesus Christ man, what’s wrong with you?

        • Khan Dhu says:

          I would not want the person to be confused that they were coming to a great holiday destination.  As long as they knew they were going to be charged top-end prices for a lower to lower-middle end experience then all is well.

    • Anonymous says:

      A weekend ski trip to Sunshine or Lake Louise would certainly appeal to this family!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I heard a rumour of a WestJet direct flight to Cayman from Calgary (ie bypassing YYZ) – any truth to this?  How good would that be?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why is it that Cayman Airways did not ‘claim’ this route and give Air Canada the competition?  Or even code share with WestJet?

    I am sure we have reciprocal rights to fly into Canada.

  8. NO not a realtor says:

     What would non-stop flights from Europe mean to increasing overnight stays?  If they were possible…

    • Anonymous says:

      The runway here isnt long enough for the largest planes, and as for pure non-stop for ‘regular-sized airliners’, the runway here isnt long enough to allow them to take off with a full tank of fuel to make a transatlantic flight.  

      • Anonymous says:

        You would need at least 9,000 feet to safely take off fully fueled.  Cayman’s runway is only 7,000 feet. 

        • Jack says:

          So after we dig all the fill out of the East End, why don’t we dump a bunch of it in North Sound to fill in another 2000 feet worth of runway?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Duh tuh mean if you drop thre air fare price by 40% you will bring a lot more customers to the contry, what a novel idea ???!!!

  10. Karl the Canuck says:

    WestJet is Canada’s leading air carrier, Air Canada beinga far distant second based on its extremely poor service.

    WestJet charges a fair price for a great product, and I am very happy to see them flying to Grand Cayman.  Now we can have a lot more "Ya mon" with our "How’s it going, eh?". 

    Let’s try to make the Canadians feel very welcome (as you did me) and hopefully those cold winter nights will attract them and their tourism dollars down here in herds.

    • Johnny Canuck says:

      Sorry Karl…Westjet is not Canada’s "Leading Air Carrier" as you claim, and their service is apparently not ‘poor’ as you’re making it out to be either.  Air Canada actually won ‘best Airline in North America’ – along with a bunch of other awards over and above Westjet this year.

      See here for proof:

      Westjet is a good airline, but they have a ways to go before they can really be called ‘Canada’s Leading Airline". That being said, it’s good to have more Canucks coming to Cayman, eh!



      • Karl the Canuck says:

        Sorry, I can’t agree Jonny – I’ve flown a lot on both and AC is nowhere as good as WestJet.  WestJet has GREAT service and AC’s is really not that good (actually it sucks, but not as bad as BA who are unconditionally guaranteed to lose your luggage in London and every other major city they go through).

        WestJet is smaller, absolutely, but it’s a much greater airline, if you know what I mean:

        WestJet actually delivers the product that people are paying for, and the passengers on their planes love them.

        I do know about the awards AC purchased, I mean "won", but that won’t change the mind of this actual consumer.  WestJet is vastly superior.

        I do agree though that more Canucks are a good thing!!  Now grab your toque and let’s go pop a cold one, eh?  I’m buying.

        • Johnny Canuck says:

          Airline preferences differ from person to person, so nobody can claim as a fact that one is better than the other. In my opinion, (I’ve flown both multiple times) both are great airlines, and have lots to offer…but only one has won multiple awards from Skytrax. That was my point & I’m stickin’ to it!

          I will take that cold beer though…  🙂


          • Karl the Canuck says:

            Skytrax appears to be based in part on on-line reviews, which no doubt AC had their employees pile into to skew the results.  I note that the actual customer surveys contain significant criticism as to the quality of service ASC offers:


            You get the House of Lethbridge pilsner.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry, Johnny Canuck, I beg to differ.  Air Canada charges outrageous fares for mediocre service.  Thank goodness someone is finally providing competition to them.  With decent air fares, WestJet should see full planes and that can only be good for Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        I totally agree Johnny Canuck.  We flew WestJet at the beginning of December from Canada to GCM.  We hated every minute of it and dreaded the trip home.  Nickle and dimed us raw and the seats were the most uncomfortable I’ve experienced in a long time with absolutely no leg room.  Personally, I will pay the extra bills to fly Canada’s Leading Air Carrier- Air Canada!!!  Boo WestJet.  You need to step it up!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Lower airfares…we will come!