US-Brac-Cuba flights to start this summer

| 30/01/2015 | 16 Comments
Cayman News Service

Charles Kirkconnell International Airport expansion (on the right of the picture)

(CNS): The upgrades to the airport on Cayman Brac enables it to handle international flights and Cayman Airways is already in the process of securing the necessary certification to introduce new flights to and from the US and Holguin in Eastern Cuba, Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell told his constituents yesterday at the official opening of the expansion to the facility. The US-Brac-Cuba service will launch in June 2015, he said.

At a gathering of residents and dignitaries at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport (CKIA) on Thursday 30 January, the DP, who has responsibility for tourism as well as for the Sister Islands, said the airport could now comfortably accommodate 170 passengers and can therefore handle the jet and the Embraer aircraft (soon to be replaced by the Saab) at the same time.

He said the Brac runway can accommodate all of the aircraft that land at the Owen Roberts International airport except for the British Airways Boeing 767, and therefore offers an important redundancy, as demonstrated recently when ORIA had to close and a Cayman Airways flight was redirected to the Sister Islands.

Cayman News Service

Baggage screening room at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport

Describing the expansion as “a real beacon of hope for the ongoing economic development of Cayman Brac”, Kirkconnell said that the recent addition of state-of-the-art baggage screening equipment has effectively linked the Brac airport to other international gateways.

“As a result, for the very first time since 9/11, international commercial flights can now fly directly to and from Cayman Brac, which is a fundamental change that allows us to significantly broaden our horizons,” he said.

The deputy premier revealed that the 30-seater Embrarer aircraft, which began service between Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman on 15 October 2014, has increased passenger numbers between the two islands by 20%. “Imagine the possibilities to be derived when new international services are introduced,” he said.

“This impact of this expansion will continue to spur economic growth for years to come, and will create more jobs and more demand for ancillary products and services, Kirkconnell said, pointing to the need for more customs officers, immigration officials and CIAA personnel to service the additional capacity.

Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) CEO Albert Anderson  explained that both the arrivals hall and departure lounge at CKIA have been expanded. The conveyor belt in the arrivals section of the airport has also been increased in length and there is a new covered baggage drop off area on the west end of the building, he said.

“One of the most significant achievements, however, is that we now have a 500 square foot baggage screening room,” Anderson noted. The room contains an x-ray machine for checked baggage, which will enable CKIA to comply with international regulations for outgoing international flights and make it possible for Cayman Brac to have direct outgoing connections to international destinations.

Cayman News Service

Ribbon cutting at for the CKIA expansion

The major works at the Brac airport are complete, with some ongoing minor works to complete over the next few months.

The expansion of the Owen Roberts International Airport on Grand Cayman will more than double its capacity and should take around three and a half years to complete, Anderson said.

Kirkconnell also noted that the Strategic Outline Case developed for the Brac airport in October 2013 found that the existing terminal capacity was inadequate to efficiently handle passenger volumes, and recommended expansion of the arrivals and departures areas, as well as the installation of high-tech screening equipment, to bring it into compliance with international standards.

“In collaboration with the Cayman Islands Airports Authority, government followed through on the recommendations and have not only delivered the expansion, but ensured that the procurement process was in keeping with international best practice,” he said.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (16)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Brac husbands doomed now

  2. Anonymous says:

    I hope that CAL are prepared to publish the business plan for the Holquin route because quite bluntly it makes no sense to me at all.

    CNS, maybe you could file an FOI request for it?

    • Anonymous says:

      CAL prepare a business plan for something? Where the heck you been for the last 20 years?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Pointing to the creation of jobs in Customs, Immigration etc etc…….ie all Govt jobs thus further expanding the welfare state with no private investment…wonderful news

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is likely a testament to “build it and they will come” mentality. I know up until recently senior CAL officials admitted that the airline had no firm indication that these proposed routes were profitable. But when has CAL ever cared about profit.

    A great initiative if it has a sound business basis but we shall see!

  5. Fox says:

    Ah yes spend the money expanding Cayman Brac while the majority of our tourism who are destined for Grand Cayman continue to suffer in the heat at the overcrowded departure hall at Owen Roberts International Airport. One even died recently. Tourists got soaked during the rain last Saturday in the recently added temporary departure hall and one tourist had to be freed from the bathroom by the fire service when the bathroom door of this temporary hall wouldn’t open.

    So rather than spending the couple of million dollars to fast track the work on our terminal in Grand Cayman, Moses spends it in Cayman Brac ! I wish I could say I am surprised.

    We should be very grateful that the US economy has turned around and consumer confidence in our primary source market is back up otherwise things wouldn’t look very pretty for tourism here at the moment. But I guess Moses and Joey would like to take credit for the turnaround of the US economy too ! Lol.

    Unfortunately by the time the work here on the terminal in Grand Cayman is completed we would have received so much bad press because of the current conditions that tourism will be in the doldrums in about 2 years !

    • Anonymous says:

      I hope that the rest of you comment isnt as much a lie as the part about the tourist getting lock in the bathroom. I was there and it was a airport worker!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re right! Grand Cayman is the center of the world, and everything should revolve around it! /s

      Get off your high horse you ego-maniac. In case you’ve forgotten, we’re three islands. Government has invested very little into the Sister Islands before Mr. Moses got in. The Brac saw little investment prior to the previous election. It’s about time that we got a piece of the pie. All we got before were the crumbs that the rats in power didn’t eat up first.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fox must work in Immigration, as that is the type of attitude tourists are meet with in Grand Cayman. Arriving passengers face long lines and bad attitudes, rarely a smile or “Welcome to the Cayman Islands” by Immigration officers. An Attitude change/improvement would not cost a penny, but could make a World of difference. Greet visitors as you would greet them at your home!

    • Anonymous says:

      Recalling that the Brac expansion was started a while ago, before the ‘strategic plan’ for Owen Roberts was worked out…. But I guess you’d have preferred the ‘ready, fire, aim’ approach of just throwing a few million at it and hoping something worked out.

    • Anonymous says:

      Very smart business decision to relieve some of the Grand Cayman airport congestion by shifting the excess Cuba bound traffic to the Cayman Brac airport. Kudos to CAL, CIAA and the Minister.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I do hope that this brings the results the people of the Brac want. Personally, I don’t think this will be the magic bullet to cure the economic hardships being faced in the Brac (which I’m sure there will be many angry replies to).

    Please, please Lord let me be wrong, for I would love to be. Time will tell. For all you who will undoubtedly go bananas by my comments, assess the situation by next election, lets see how much things have changed…for the better over there.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Great work Moses

    • Anonymous says:

      The Sister Islands are fortunate to have Moses as their MLA. I only wish we had somebody like him representing us here in West Bay.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Let’s hope that’s June 2015 and not 2105. Had to be a typo there.

    CNS: Oops! Now corrected.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Such fantastic news for the Brac. Let’s hope all of the rest of the infrastructure is ready for what will hopefully be more tourist visits. (not just stopovers for Cuba)

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