Cayman Airways retires last two 737-300s

| 02/11/2021 | 31 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Wayne Panton writes a farewell message on the nose of CAL’s last 737-300

(CNS): Cayman Airways bid farewell to its last two Boeing 737-300 jets last week as Captain Perry Panton and First Officer Geoffery Connolly flew the 25-year-old planes to the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, where they will be stored pending sale. CAL operated the 737-300 jets for three decades but it has now switched to the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, the model involved in two fatal plane crashes, thought to be caused by known software issues, causing the planes to be grounded worldwide.

However, these defects have now been fixed and the Max 8 aircraft have been cleared for flight by regulators in the US, UK and Europe, as well as the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI). CAL’s fleet now consists of the three Max 8 jets, as well as two Saab 340B+ and two Twin Otter aircraft operated by Cayman Airways Express.

In a release about the retirement of the last two 737-300s, Cayman Airways said that it now boasts the newest fleet in the Caribbean with three new Max 8 aircraft in operation. Despite the scaled down schedule, as tourism remains stalled in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cayman Airways has confirmed that, with the border restrictions being gradually eased, the airline will now need all three of the new planes.

However, given the circumstances surrounding the grounding of the planes, CAL remains in talks with Boeing regarding the fourth plane that CAL had originally committed to leasing.

Cayman Airways’ plans to replace the old planes with the new Max 8s two years ago stalled after that model aircraft was grounded around the world in the wake of the two catastrophic accidents, Lion Air Flight 610 on 29 October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on 10 March 2019, in which a total of 346 people died.

The local airline therefore continued to use the 737-300s, which became Cayman’s lifeline through the pandemic when CAL began its essential repatriation flights.

The first of the two planes that CAL has now retired flew its last passenger flight for Cayman Airways on 26 June, and the second on 17 May. Both flights were from Cayman Brac to Grand Cayman.

Before the last of the 737-300s to leave Cayman took to the air, CAL threw a farewell party at its hanger on 25 October at the Owen Roberts International Airport, where dignitaries and staff as well as members of government wrote goodbye messages on the nose of the aircraft.

Read the history of the 737-300 aircraft here.

Watch the video of the event on the CAL YouTube channel below:

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Category: Business, Transport

Comments (31)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Now these old jets will be sold to a third-world country, where they’ll put passengers at risk.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Switching to Jet Blue now.
    Airbus safer

  3. Anonymous says:

    I flew on those two many times and they served CAL very well over the years.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Time to manage half of their management staff

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank God for the repatriation flights. I was in so fast, the door never even hit my ass.

  6. Anonymous says:

    How can they be 25 years old (as stated) but CAL operated them for 3 decades (as stated)? Not even sure they were new when CAL got them.

    • Anonymous says:

      I went to school for three decades (40’s , 50’s, and 60’s) but not for thirty years.

    • Anonymous says:

      The 300s series entered service with CAL in 91. CAL operated several other 300s prior to adding VP-CKW and CKZ to the fleet. Hence three decades of operating this particular variant.

      This last one was a 1996 build. It’s now twenty five years old.

      • Anonymous says:

        Did CAL operate the 737-300 in the early nineties? If they did, it must have been very brief. I thought it was the 727-200’s in the 1980s and the 737-400’s and -200’s up until some point in the 1990s, then the incident and they reverted back to 737-200’s until the first -300 arrived in the Mid 2000s.

        • Anonymous says:

          The 300 series flew with CAL from 91 to 93. The 200 series joined the Fleet in 93. The last 200 was removed from service in 2006.

          The 727 from 82 to 89. The B737-400 from 89 until 92.

          The 300s rejoined in 2003 until it was retired from service when the -8s were ungrounded. The last revenue flight for the 300 was May 2021.

          • Anonymous says:

            You learn something new every day. What were the registrations of those -300s from the early 1990s? Don’t forget to plug the 737-800 in there for good measure!

            • Anonymous says:

              They will more likely be converted to cargo or parted out (scrapped).

            • Anonymous says:

              One was VR-CCW… it went on to fly with Morris Air, then Southwest.
              Another was VR-CRC… short term lease in all white paint with Cayman Airways titles.

        • Anonymous says:

          Including the one Splashed into North Sound, Lest We Forget.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is how the premier wastes time? Writing on planes and attending farewell parties for a plane?

    • Anonymous says:

      Last Premier did the same as well when others were retired.

      Why make everything political?

    • Big Bobo In West Bay says:

      In these times of COVID is this really a reason for celebrating and having a party?

      Don’t stop the carnival.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Probably cheaper to use them as low-cost housing. Or sink them as new dive sites.

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