Airline mag ‘flies’ off island

| 04/06/2009

(CNS): After almost thirty years in the hands of Caymanian publishers, the Cayman Airways in-flight magazine contract has gone overseas to a US firm. Despite there being a number of local publishers ready, willing and able to produce the National Flag Carriers bi-monthly magazine, including Cayman Net Publishing, Cayman Free Press and the most recent publishers of Horizons, Cogent Communications, the airline has given the job to a travel magazine publishing house in Florida.

The managing editor of Horizons, Sheridan Robinson, told CNS that it was very sad to see the beloved publication come to an end after 27 years of being on board Cayman Airways flights. “We have been proud to produce, design and manage all facets of the magazine since Hurricane Ivan destroyed the offices of the original publishers, Progressive Publications,” said Robinson. “We have consistently sought to improve the quality of the magazine and continue to have nothing but the most positive feedback from clients up to and including our current issue.”

Robinson added that the advertisers, the numerous Caymanian cultural institutions, non-profit associations and other business and editorial contributors that she deals with were shocked by the announcement. “However, without the Cayman Airways contract and due to the present economy we have had to make the difficult decision to cease publication,” Robinson stated. “We want to thank all our valued clients for their patronage over our many years of publication and we hope they feel, as we do, that Horizons magazine made a significant contribution to the marketing and promotion of our beautiful Cayman Islands.”

CNS understands that there were some seven organisations who pitched for the contract and at least three were based on island, including the two local newspaper publishers, Desmond Seales and Brian Uzzel. 

Seales was the very first publisher of the airline’s first seat-back magazine, the Buccaneer. In the early 1980s Progressive Publications began producing Horizons Magazine, which has been carried on every CAL flight ever since.

During its 27 year history, Horizons has acted as a showcase for the Cayman Islands to visitors and a great source of local information for locals using the airline as well. Carol Hay, who was the creator and former Editor and Director of Progressive, told CNS that she was very upset that the CAL magazine had gone to an overseas firm.

“There is absolutely no justification for farming this magazine out when there were so many local publishers capable of producing it,” she said.

Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush, who now has responsibility for Cayman Airways, was not impressed either and he told CNS that when he discovered the contract had gone overseas he found he was too late to stop it.

“I don’t think this should not have gone to an overseas publisher when we have publishers here that can and wanted to do it. This means that any profits made will go out of Cayman instead of staying in our local economy,” he said, adding that he felt both Robinson and Hay had done a good job with Horizons.

CNS has contacted Cayman Airways which confirmed that the magazine contract has been awarded to a US publishing house but there will be a Caymanian representative on island and the new publishers will be required to use local writers. Cayman Airways said they would be issuing a full and detailed announcement today, Thursday 4 June, about what it described as exciting plans for the new in-flight magazine, which a spokesperson said was expected to attract considerably more revenue for the airline.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The present management of the National Airline is so desperate for knowledge that they will soon give the full operations of the airline to foreigners, If they had to import a United Airlines Pilot to run operations what else will they soon be doing. Caymanian Pilots ran the operations very successfully until now. "SO"???????????

    • Anonymous says:

      For your ignorant information the United Airlines Pilot that you refer to running the airline is a BORN CAYMANIAN, college educated and qualified as much as any other Caymanian that has previously run the airline.

  2. Old Ricardo knew his stuff says:

    Supporting an uncompetitve Cayman business over a more competitive foreign one actually harms the Cayman economy by preventing Cayman productivity and capital being allocated to businesses which Cayman can be competitive in.  That isn’t rocket science – Ricardo worked in out in the 19th century.  So only buy local if it is competitive, otherwise you are doing harm to local economy.  With that in mind well done to CAL on their sound decision.

    Buying local for buying local’s sake is ignorant counterproductive economic Ludditism.


    • Anonymous says:

      If it was only a matter of buying local that would be great – however I am sure if this whole matter is investigated it will show that CAL will not be getting any more out of the foreign deal and stand to have the locals boycott the sale of adverts in this new venture and the they will end up with no magizine for a while. If CAL were paying for the magazine which they have NEVER done then I could understand these comments. CAL has never paid for the magazine as a matter of fact the previous publishers have had to pay CAL to put the magazine on their planes. No other airline magazine in the world is operated on this basis.

  3. oh me oh my says:

    So these local publishers were entirely reliant on the contract of one publication as the whole basis of their business? Yet we wonder why so many local businesses fail? Oh well, I’m off to buy a ten dollar bottle of pepper jelly(imported)as opposed to the seventy dollar local one sitting next to it on the shelf.

    • Anonymous says:

      What the hell has this article got to do with pepper jelly???? Who gives a s…t what pepper jelly you buy – its like everything else you get what you pay for – either a jelly with the essence of pepper or the real deal.

  4. Fed Up Caymanian says:

    My last comment should have NOT included Jamaicans in regards to flying on national carriers. This was a typo and I crave forgiveness

  5. Fed Up Caymanian says:

    The awarding of this contract to an overseas company is the same as giving the flight attendant jobs to EXPATS, who by the way require no work permit. Last weekend, I returned to Cayman on a flight from Miami- only to be greeted by an ALL EXPAT crew, from the cockpit right into the cabin were NON CAYMANIANS. Now whilst I can reason with the availability of Caymanian pilots- I cannot fathom why our NATIONAL AIRLINE must import men and women to be flight attendants.

    All other national flag carriers have in flight staff from their respective country. Anyone ever flew AIr Jamaica? If so, tell me if you saw a Caymanian, Jamaican, American, Canadian, English, Irish, Honduran, Australian on any of those flights? NOPE they are all Jamaican

    But then again, in the past 4 years, Caymanians have been terminated for no reason only to be replaced by expats who knew nothing and who have no desire to see our National flag carrier prosper. Another way in whihc the PPM and Charles CLifford thumbed their nose at the Cayman Islands.

    I say all of this to point out that the awarding of this contract is SHAMELESS and goes against all that is good. Since Cayman is not good enough to have the in-flight magazine printed here- I want to suggest that ALL Caymanians boycott using CAL for a 21 day period. Its not realistic but it MAY get the point across- who knows

  6. Small steps, big changes says:

    So CAL takes a small step to improve its financial position and everyone complains.  If people want CAL to behave more like a private company rather than a nationalised provider then this is exactly the type of steps that need to be taken.  Unpopluar, but necessary.

    More and more I am looking to the US for services and goods for myself or my business because having tried my best to source something in Cayman the local mark-up is just unjustifiably high.  For example computers seem to cost twice as much here as in the US.  American prices have come down broadly recently, Cayman prices have not.  This makes matters worse.

    • Wake up Cayman! says:

      Disgusting. Disgusting. Disgusting. This is not going to make a dent in Cayman Airways financial situation but it will make a dent in the local economy. Across the water the USA is advocating to Americans to do business with American Companies. Keep the dollar in the USA to support their local economy during one of the worst recessions.

      I agree with the previous writer what "rose colored" story will Cayman Airways serve up now.

      Listen this is pretty simple;

      Cayman Airways proclaims to be the National Carrier of the Cayman Islands. For the people of the Cayman Islands having their best interests in the people of the Cayman Islands. Well CAL "actions" speak louder than "words". Why don’t you take a note from the other economies in the world right now and do what it takes to "support" the local Cayman economy and keep jobs here no matter what it takes. There’s always a way to come to a deal

      What’s next sub out the C&W 411 service to an indian company!!!! Come on Cayman. CAL answers to you. God knows you given them enough support over the years!!!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ms. Hay was right, there can be no justification for this.  The inflight magazine revenue will not dig CAL out of its financial hole so what gives?  The public is still waiting to hear the official “rose coloured glass” story!  Come on CAL .. spill the beans.  What pie in the sky sales trick did you fall for?    I also know for a fact that the airline pays nothing for their inflight magazine but instead receives payment from the publishers for the privilige of being called the inflight magazine and the exclusive rights to be put in the seatback pockets.  Additonally,  Ya all need to stop the stupid assumptions of thinking that the magazine is printed in Cayman.  ALL full colour glossy mags are printed overseas as there is not a four-colour press here capable of such.  Never has been.

    Whoever made the grave error of awarding this publication overseas should be ashamed of themselves.  M. Bodden makes an excellent point – don’t support the new publishers by buying any advertising.  That’ll teach em!  Throw your dollars at CNS, the people who first exposed this story.  It’s a slippery slope I tell you.  Those that cater CAL’s refreshments should be feared – I am sure there is a place in India that could do a better job for less!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Maybe the local publishing companies charged to highof a price? For example I have ordered business cards locally and paid CI$ 75.00 for 500, then I found them online for US $30, which do you think I use now? It was a business decision. If that publishing company has to close, did they not have other customers? Surely they must have made enough money over the last 27 years to last them.

    People complain about the high CUC bills, well start conserving energy and you’ll see your bill drop, the only person you can blame is yourself. Is your house properly insulated, (windows, roof, doors) energy efficient, do you use energy star appliances? Probably not. Did you turn your lights off for Earth hour? Probably not.

    Status grants: from what I can see Cayman needs more Caymanians, if they are contributing to society, and the economy what is your problem? Who do you think owns the majority of the high priced condos on this island, it’s not Caymanians. Want to stop everybody from investing in Cayman, than make it legal for only Caymanians to own land or property and stop selling it off piece by piece to the rest of world.

    Don’t want UPD or PPM, then the people who can vote, should have made a stand, and boycotted/protested the election, done something to show what you stood for. Maybe if more of the “paper Caymanians” could vote then things would be different.

    If you want to see a change, then you have to change yourself and your way of thinking first. I hear the talk, and that is all it is: talk, no one ever stands up and does anything.

    For a country that calls itself a Christian community you are not acting very Christian. Stop the name calling, blaming others, bickering, arguing, etc. Look at what needs to be done and get it done! 

    Do we need another Ivan to remember what it is to be Christians and friends again?

  9. Bob says:

    The Horizon magazine is simply a victim of a badly run airline. Ask yourself what is the source of all problems at CAL?

    Had CAL been run efficiently and profitably, they may have been able to support the Cayman economy and keep the magazine in our islands. But with a dismal financial record and no change in sight, we can expect more in those same lines to come. They have to cut where they can, but they’re only putting a bandage on an open wound.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Had CAL been run efficiently and profitably, they may have been able to support the Cayman economy and keep the magazine in our islands"

      Given its small size and mandate (e.g. jet service to Cayman Brac) it is quite literally impossible for Cayman Airways to be proftiable no matter the management.

    • Anonymous says:

      Once again Bob you seem to have an inside track as to the efficiencies and inefficiencies at CAL. Why do you say that CAL is a badly run airline – where is your proof and the stats. Most airlines today are running at a loss – does that mean that they are badly run airlines and should get rid of their CEO’s or is it a sign of the economic times and the high cost of running such a business. Being so negative does not help the situation it only breaks down the morality of those in the company.

  10. Fed-UP CAYMANIAN says:

    I agree, why dont we just move the entire CAL Operations overseas and see if we can save money. A bunch of hog-wash. Whilst printing the magazine here, MAY cost a few dollars- at the very least that money is being recycled in the CAYMAN ISLANDS. No wonder the economy is a downward whirpool- thanks to the brilliant leadership of the PPM. And YES we will lay blame on the PPM because IF the EX Minister of Tourism had been doing his job- he would not and should not have allowed such an injustice to happen. How about getting rid of the so-called Management thats in pace there now. Maybe that will trim the fat a little.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Before judgements/assumptions can be made one must wait to see exactly what the deal is between CAL and the new publishers.  Where was Horizons published, where was it printed?  How many people did they have employed in Cayman that it would affect?  How much revenues did CAL generate from Horizons, or did was it one of their advertising expenses.    Will the contributing writers be compensated this time?  Will they use local photographers?……we need more facts and much more information.

    Lets wait to hear the other side of the story, please!


    And please….how on earth can PPM be brought in at this Macro level?  Get a grip.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant idea M. Bodden.  Simple yet brilliant — Cayman advertisers need to boycott this move.  I for one will keep this in mind when the new sales team comes a calling.

    I repeat M. Bodden’s sensible fix to this outsourcing nonsense BOYCOTT THIS CAYMAN, DO NOT ADVERTISE.

  13. Anonymous says:

    "I have long realized that the UDP don’t understand that Government companies and statutory authorities are intended to operate independently of the elected Govt. whose input should be confined to overall policy directions and appointment of Board members."

    I understand the separation, but personally think that a rule for taking reasonable steps to keep economic activity in Cayman where possible falls well inside the policy sphere.  It should be a rule that if a statutory authority wants to export jobs, for economic reasons or whatever, they need to run it by the politicians, as the ones who answer to the electorate. 

    It might be that the jobs have to be exported because Cayman can’t do them with economic efficiency, but efforts should be made.  Even the USA, that so-called center of freedom and democracy, is engaging in strong economic protectionism against its trading partners.  Why not Cayman?

  14. Anon says:

    Well I don’t see the point in the statement from Anonymous at 12.21pm in bold print. If like you claim, CA do not pay for the magazine but rather earn revenue from advertisers. Then if they are sending it to be printed overseas they will not save costs but will increase their revenue which is esssentially the same thing. They are obviously getting a better deal or they would not bother sending it overseas.

    Doesn’t matter if they’re cutting costs or generating extra revenue, the principle is the same and that is the improvement of their bottom line and therefore less for each taxpayer to bail them out.

    Unfortunately because of the very high price of doing business in Cayman, we will see more and more companies outsourcing or buying from other countries. When the economy was good and everybody was doing well, companies wouldn’t mind paying a bit extra to help out the local firms, but in  a recession they can no longer afford to do this and the shareholders (e.g. mine and your pension funds etc) demand that they run efficiently and this means getting the best deal possible in the global marketplace.

  15. M. Bodden says:

    Well I will help solve that bull, I am cancelling my advertising contract which I have had for many years.  I will not support any idea of this going overseas and benefiting any other entity but a local publisher.

    The on island rep can call but I will not be advertising. 

    I am calling for all the advertisers to boycott this magazine.

    If they do not make the quota of ads the magazine cannot be published.  Then the overseas firm will have to terminate the contract, therefore reverting it back to Cayman.

    In this recession all the local businesses need the local support and any business that we send overseas is not helping our economy in the least, so how are we expected to survive much less compete.

    I do not support this move and will not advertise.


  16. Anonymous says:

    What about the MILLIONS of dollars that the Dept of Tourism spend with Advertising/ Design Agencies in the US…not just Cayman Airways but all of the Goverment overseas outsourcing/ spending should be reviewed and reconsidered for the local business. We need to keep our economy strong.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Would have been nice for CAL to have advised the top local bidders of what the US company had quoted…give them a chance to better the offer and keep this long standing CAYMANIAN magazine on Our beloved isle, CAYMAN.

  18. Anonymous says:

    It is a fact that Cayman Airways does not pay a penny for the production of their inflight magazine.  They actually GET a percentage of sales generated by the advertising sold inside the magazine.   Therefore CAL is not using an overseas publishing house as a cost cutting exercise at all.  CAL please explain why you moved this publication offshore?

    • Anonymous says:

      I have long realized that the UDP don’t understand that Government companies and statutory authorities are intended to operate independently of the elected Govt. whose input should be confined to overall policy directions and appointment of Board members. The recent actions of the new govt. and the comments on here confirms that that is still the case. Stop the political meddling in these things. You should have learned at least that from the Clifford Commission of Enquiry Report.      

  19. What says:

    It is fine to spend extra millions on Cayman Airways, even when this can clearly be avoided, but we should not build schools. This is the message coming from the Premier Designate.

    No real change here!

  20. Anonymous says:

    The so called managers continue to make seriously bad mistakes at CAL.  Perhaps they should appoint people who are actually qualified to run a business rather than continuing to appoint pilots as managers.  In my opinion, to save less but not spending it within the country is not a good decision.  Cayman needs every help it can get.  I wonder who got what in return for this decision.  Was this another of Chuckie’s and PPM’s legacy?  Mr. Bush, please fix CAL.  Remove every one of those managers (especially PPM political appointee’s who don’t know what they are doing) and the board of directors and start from scratch.  Please also do not fill the board with former pilots!

    • Peter Schmid says:

      I always find it regrettable when contributers paint entire groups of people with one broad brush! Being a Pilot, especially of the commercial vriety requires many qualities that can serve a person well in many fields such as dedication, discipline, responsability etc.

      It is therefore not helpful to categorically state that pilots cannot be good managers.

      Instead what might have been more constructive would have been to say: do not appoint pilots to (non-technical) management/board positions merely on the strength of them having been Pilots, rather make certain that appointees have demonstrated their ability & willingness to deal objectively with the issues at hand.


  21. Anonymous says:

     I agree with "There are two sides to this".

    It is very unfortunate that the business is going to a US firm, but the Company has to think about what is best for their bottom line. In today’s day and age the world operates on a global basis, it is unfair to condemn Cayman Airways for doing what is financially best for their company. I think that people fail to understand sometimes that our local companies are competing on an international basis, regardless if their goods/services are locally or globally distributed.   

    I feel that the printing firm should take this as a lesson learned and be proactive about what has happened to them. They should establish some cost cutting methods of their own (without reducing quality) and promote internal efficiency.   

  22. Anonymous says:

    I would suggest they continue to publish the magazine overseas where it is probably much cheaper to do so. Cayman Airways is a company, and it must use its resources in the most efficient way possible. In my opinion, several other functions need to be carried out on contract… whether its to a Caymanian or not.

    The next step is to get rid of a sizeable part of the KX staff and replace them with people wh are actually qualified and motivated, and not those who think the job belongs to them because they’re Caymanian. 

  23. NATIONALIST says:

    Do you morons really believe that the PPM would be involved at this level in deciding who to award theCAL in-flight magazine to ?

    If there is anyone to blame, because remember this could be a very sensible business decision, it is CAL’s management not the PPM.

    ……but I see we’re heading back to the days of McKeeva usurping the board and management and running the airline from the Ministry… want to see massive losses at CAL…..just pay attention from now on !!!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Dear confused,

    the contract to publish the airline mag has been given to an overseas company; as a result the former Cayman publishers are shutting down.

    another parting gift from the ppm

    • Anonymous says:

      "another parting gift from the ppm..’"

      D*mned, if you do, and d*mned if you don’t. If the airline was spending too much on the magazine it would be cited as an example of PPM over-spending, not getting value for money etc. etc.  It will be fun to watch if the new Govt. is held to the same standards, for example if its leader will pay the bills owed to Cayman Airways for travel.     

  25. Anon says:

    There are two sides to this. yes it’s a shame that the work is being sent overseas and that Caymanian businesses will not reap the rewards. but on the other hand, the airline is making massive losses which are being subisidised by government and ultimately the taxpayers, therefore if the airline is cutting costs then this is a good thing if we are paying less?

  26. Carol Hay says:

    CAL spokesperson said the decision to move the inflight magazine elsewhere was “expected to attract considerably more revenue for the airline” yadda yadda yadda.  That’s just sales talk and total rubbish — and CAL bought it.  At the end of one year I trust CAL will reveal the huge benefits from this so-called new and improved inflight magazine and by this I mean actual money in hand and not profit on books or promises of money soon come!   Come to think of it, perhaps our local airline could be run more profitably out of the USA as well – why don’t we move operations there too?

    This recent move by CAL is a very selfish and short sighted in my opinion.  I agree with McKeeva’s comments CI 100% !

  27. noname says:

    I’m confused; is the magazine going out of publication or being published overseas now? The article seems to imply both.

  28. Anonymous says:


    How long have they awarded the contract for ?  If it is only 12 months then you need to ensure that it comes back on island – that should be the focus – 

    Im sure Mr Bush will ensure it does come back to be an on island publication