Cayman Airways has a new direct flight.
Starting in March, the national flag carrier will offer twice weekly non-stop service between Grand Cayman and Denver, Colorado.
“We had the opportunity to look at where we could grow our arrivals from,” Tourism Minister Hon. Moses Kirkconnell said. “And when we looked at the western part of United States, we realised for us to be successful we needed to make sure that the air lift was something that would give us a competitive advantage.
“Expansion is necessary for us to continue to meet our goal of promoting arrivals.”
Why Denver? Tourism leaders say Colorado is the fastest-growing state for scuba divers. They also say it’s location opens up the potential for other routes.
“It’s going to give us our first entry point,” the Minister said. “It’s going to help expand to our feeder markets. It will help us have a competitive edge in the Los Angeles market, San Francisco market, Seattle, Vancouver and look at how we do those connections through Denver.”
That’s important because Cayman Airways’ non-stop routes in the U.S. are in the east and midwest.
“But on the other side of the United States there isn’t very much activity,” Tourism Director Rosa Harris said.
Denver is the most western-reaching non-stop destination for CAL. The roughly five-hour flight is only possible with the airlines’ new 737 MAX 8 airplanes, the first of which will be on island in November.
“Now I don’t think that there’s any point in the United States that we can’t reach with 8 MAX,” CAL Chairman Philip Rankin said.
“(It) would be a better service than they would have if they came here on a U.S. carrier because, let’s face it, we’re going to be flying newer aircraft than what the other carriers have,” CAL CEO and President Fabian Whorms said.
The route will be the only non-stop flight between the two cities and the only carrier flying from Denver to the Caribbean.
“Giving the jurisdiction a competitive advantage over the other competing tourism jurisdictions that will not have direct flights from these distant gateways,” Mr. Whorms said.
The route will run on Wednesdays and Saturday.
During winter months, it will leave Cayman around 8 a.m., getting into Denver around 11 a.m. Mountain Time.
The return leg leaves around 12:15 p.m. and arrives around 7:15 Cayman local time.