CITA supports new CAL jets

| 12/09/2008

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) fully supports government efforts to boost tourism with the acquisition of two new aircraft and the potential addition of new routes, and believes the two Embraer jets that Cayman Airways is planning to lease are well suited to the customer base for the Cayman Islands. They are well aligned for the potential new gateways and are also much more viable for any ‘thin routes’ than CAL’s existing 737s, says CITA.

"As the rest of the region is cutting flight schedules and vacationers are looking elsewhere to visit, the Cayman Islands Government is taking bold steps to gain a competitive edge over other destinations, ultimately resulting in new business that will boost the Cayman Islands tourism industry in these harsh economic times," according to Trina Christian, CITA Executive Director.

She said that over the last couple of months, the Cayman Islands Government has consulted with the CITA Board and private sector representatives to discuss the best possible new routes for the Cayman Islands. “The CITA has offered feedback and has been fully supportive of the investment in the new aircraft, feeling they are well suited to the customer base for the Cayman Islands,” said Christian.

“Choosing a more fuel-efficient aircraft with a 70-seat capacity presents a better opportunity to successfully operate geo-targeted flights and produce higher load factors to [make] new gateways more attainable, and therefore allowing for a more frequent flight schedule. With the price of fuel skyrocketing it seems a much more responsible choice of additional fleet to the Cayman Airways and adds potential business opportunities,” Christian said.

CITA and the Cayman Islands Government are also exploring ways in which the Public/Private sectors can partner to ensure the new routes are successful; therefore it has been CITA’s message from the beginning that it was fully supportive of additional airlift in the Northeast (US market) and South America and increased airlift to the Sister Islands.

”Given the fact that the Cayman Islands Government is assuming the financial burden and demonstrating their commitment to our tourism product, CITA has challenged its members with the same level of commitment towards the marketing efforts. CITA has been anxiously awaiting the news of exactly which gateways CAL will be going into so that they can align their marketing plans towards hopefully promoting the launch in late 2008,” Christian said.

CITA plans to offer the same support and even more than what was done with the launch of the New York (JFK) flight, which included a special promotion to entice visitorsto book on Cayman Airways. Such an offer would include special offers when there is proof of a Cayman Airways ticket. Offers will include a resort credit at the hotels, special rates on condo/villa properties, and discounts at restaurants and and on watersports activities and attractions.

”The bottom line is that the private sector is fully supportive of the new aircraft and feels that the revenue opportunities for the tourism industry and the return on investment for our economy far outweigh the investment that is being put forth,” Christian stated.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Who will make money off this?  It would be helpful to know from aviation experts (not CITA, the CAL board or the minister) who will be flying these airplanes as there are no pilots here for them.  Who will maintain them as there are no maintenance facilities.  If they also do not have adequate luggage capacity nor is there a specific plan for routes to service, then why such insistence on signing this lease?

  2. Anonymous says:

    The larger Embraers aren’t quite as bad as the RJ45’s, which are 40-60 seat regionals with effectively zero baggage capacity. 

    However, "Al Italia" (Italy) flies these jets, so perhaps it would be worth a look to see how healthy their financials are.


    The bottom line for CAL is that between quasi-regional "holiday" travelers going shopping, and the tourist demographic of the scuba diver hauling his gear, CAL simply cannot have any aircraft that doesn’t offer superior baggage-hauling capabilities, both inside the cabin as well as below.

    The current 737s do this job well enough (the 737-200 is marginal), and the cost of only one set of spare parts and training (mechanics and crew) overshadows small improvement in fuel efficiency.

    The simple reality is that CAL’s fleet simply isn’t big enough to make it cost-effective support too many different aircraft, and you have to do the basics well before trying to get fancy.  Run on time, run with all the baggage and run compatible systems for solid check-through to other airlines and CAL might earn back more of my business.  Until then, my business goes elsewhere whenever possible.



  3. Anonymous says:

    Embraer Acronym – Every Mechanical Breakdown Requires Electronic Reset

    JetBlue Airways Corp., the first airline to fly 100-seat Brazilian Embraer jets, will start grounding the planes tomorrow to fix persistent software problems.

    JetBlue will contract with ExpressJet Holdings Inc. for four 50-seat aircraft to replace the 25 Embraer E190s as they’re sidelined two at a time.

    JetBlue is contacting passengers about the plane change and giving them $25 (U.S.) travel vouchers.

    The E190s’ grounding is the latest setback for JetBlue, which last month widened its forecast for a quarterly loss after winter storms led to cancellation of 1,102 flights.

    "The E190 is an aircraft with more than its share of teething pains," said Douglas Runte, an analyst with RBS Greenwich Capital Markets in Greenwich, Conn. "We expect that these problems can be resolved."

    The software difficulties include some incorrect instrument readings, none of which interfere with the safe operation of the planes, JetBlue spokeswoman Jenny Dervin said in an email.

    Boy I hope they have done their homework on this one as this requires careful consideration with aviation experts and people in the know rather than a bunch of dive operators and condo managers and most importantly this should not be rushed as CITA would like.  I believe the public would rather hear the opinion of an aviation expert rather than Chuck and CITA. PLEASE!!!!

  4. Frustrated Flyer says:

    A flight from here to San Juan, PR would be a good start.  Flying anywhere in the Eastern Caribbean from here (except Nassau) is a real trial. 

    The Embraer jets are daft; can’t carry bags, certainly not equipped to carry dive gear, and difficult to maintain.  Bonkers decisions.  Even Dash 8s would be better.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wow – who would have thought that CITA are aviation experts also!

  6. Anonymous says:

    It would seem to me that maintaining and operating a 3 year old, smaller & more  efficient aircraft would be better than operating with 15  year old aircraft.  I agree that a wet lease is more expensive however I think that is for the short term.

  7. Anonymous says:



    If Cayman Airways can’t or couldn’t make money with the planes the owned how do they plan to lease an airplane and make money??

    Along with new planes comes new cost, because of it being a different model from what they’re used to it means re-training of all pilots, cabin crew and all mechanics…and trust me it is not cheap!!

    Just my two cents regarding the matter, something to think about!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Way to go CITA! This sounds much more positive than what the UDP and their "expert" is saying. To condemn this project before it has begun is very short sighted. CAL has tried to improve over many years with various governments using mainly Boing 737s and not much changed, even with the UDPs expert in charge. Why not try something new? Could the results really be that much worst than before? What is even most pathetic is that one of the MLAs from the Sister Islands is against it.  When Capt. Aston Reid, Cappy Foster, Capt. Charles Kirkconnell, Lee King and others had the vision 35+ years ago to build roads on the bluff it was considered folly as well but time has proven that they were right. 

    It will be great to be able to fly direct from the US and only have to make a quick hop over to Little Cayman. Building of a new airstrip in Little Cayman has been talked about for almost 30 years and nothing much has been done. Should Cayman Brac have to wait another 30 years for regular jet service? This should have been done years ago and perhaps Cayman Brac would not have been in the declining state it was in.

    This service is desperately needed. As the Sister Islands have begun to grow in the last 3 years it is getting steadily more difficult to get a reservation.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The problem with this aircraft which was looked at years ago is the capacity to carry the passengers baggage. This will result in either leaving the bags or infuriating the passengers who can not get their bags when they get to their destination.

    Has anyone looked at the overall picture for this aircraft………..Delta is presently flying this type of airplane to Jamaica and is leaving bags on every flight……….these are tourist not locals.

    Go out and look for 737-300 as there are many on the market for lease and with the credit crunch, oil price and lack of interst in people flying in general the lessor’s are bound to want to negotiate.

    Lets be sensible this time instead of putting our ego in the way………..HOW MUCH will these leases cost the country when we need to break them????

  10. Anonymous says:

    Its high time we had the ability to fly direct to other countries all over the Caribbean rather than having the additional time, expense and delays of having to to travel via Miami or Jamaica, etc.

    Purely as an example, Barbados is such a popular tourist destination – and I believe we have in excess of 300 Bajans living and working here on the island – yet its so difficult, costly and time-consuming to reach there. 

    • Anonymous says:

      To the above

      I am sure you know that fuel is not cheap and Miami, Cuba, and Jamaica is Cayman Airways bread and butter. These small jets is not the right fit for Cayman Airways and I am sure 300 Bajans are not going to fly every weekend to support a nonstop flight to Barbados. Major Airlines are dropping routes and cutting aircraft and crew. We need to stick to what we know and that is "IF IT IS NOT BOEING WE AIN’T GOING " Parts are ready available World Wide for Boeing aircraft. These regional jets are for business travels with a overnight bag packed for two to three days tops with a laptop in hand. These aircraft’s can not carry the bags and passenger’s on the Jamaica route and Havana. Christmas time travelers for locals  and expats that would like  to fly too Miami and shop. Tampa as well. Plenty of there bags will be left behind.   Cayman Airways is looking ways to safe money, then cut out New York for the summer and go seasonal. Open up gateways to Le Ceiba which I am sure would be a money maker. Stick to the routes that we know  that are doing well and direct Cayman Airways resources in marketing to fill up the seats. Pass on a fuel charge in the ticket, which all major airlines are doing today and look at cost cutting measures within the management team or even better yet. Across the board down to the ticket agents and have each department heads come up with cost cutting measures such supplies and etc. Right down to the printing ink the use for there printers. 

      Whatever happen to the 3 million dollars spent on Lufthansa Consulting and what did that do for Cayman Airways, Has anyone realized that the money that this government as spent on the above and the Helicopter deal could of bought a 737/300. In this day and age of the aviation industry you can find aircraft that Cayman Airways fly for sale for 6 to 7 million dollars ready to fly. Low time and up to-date records. Little investment to get the plans in the air and flying.