Almost two years after Cayman Airways (CAL) became the first airline in the world to voluntarily ground its Boeing 737-8 fleet following the tragic loss of Ethiopian Airlines’ Flight 302, which was operated with the same aircraft type, and after comprehensive safety re-certifications of the aircraft by aviation authorities globally, CAL’s President and CEO, Fabian Whorms has expressed his personal confidence in returning the airline’s B737-8 two-plane fleet to commercial service.
Between February 11 and 15, the airline has been undergoing operational readiness exercises in both the Cayman Islands and Jamaica.
CAL’s CEO joined the crew aboard the airline’s B737-8, VP-CIX, for its first Operational Readiness Flight between Grand Cayman and Jamaica on Thursday, February 11, 2021. Also on board was CAL’s VP of Flight Operations, Captain Dave Scott.
In a recent statement, Mr Whorms indicated that he was confident in the safety of the fleet, given CAL’s “comprehensive series of actions designed to comply with all the new regulatory requirements to safely return the aircraft to service” for several months.
The ban on the aircraft operating in Cayman Islands’ airspace was lifted on January 27 by The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) following similar decisions by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Cayman Airways originally withdrew its B737-8 fleet from service on March 10, 2019 after two tragic accidents — Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29, 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019.
“Cayman Airways plans to return the aircraft model to service in the second half of February 2021, after we complete the final series of actions necessary to reintroduce the aircraft to service,” said Mr Whorms.