September 21, 2019

The Editor speaks: “Those who fly us, Love us”

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Colin Wilson

Soon after winning awards as “The Best Airline”, many now have not been happy with the delays and cancellations over the past week the airline have had.

The slogan “Those who fly us, Love us” is not one many passengers have been singing.

However, is it Cayman Airways fault?

In a new Release the Airline sent out,Cayman Airways President and CEO, Fabian Whorms, addressed the problems. The main reason, of course, is the grounding of its new two Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, and having to run an expanded service with just three jet aircraft, this left the airline with little redundancy in the event of an aircraft being out of service.

Last week the problems began.

The Release said, “Last week, a single technical problem on one jet aircraft resulted in that aircraft only being able to provide limited service between Wednesday and Saturday. Unfortunately, despite best efforts, Cayman Airways was unable to secure a substitute jet aircraft, and, being short one plane, passengers and crew on certain flights experienced extended delays. These passengers were assisted by Cayman Airways’ airport and call center teams, who worked tirelessly to accommodate each person. The technical problem on that aircraft was resolved on Saturday, and it returned to full service that evening.

“On Monday, a separate technical issue with another jet aircraft again resulted in extended delays on certain flights. The issue with that aircraft was resolved by Tuesday evening.

“In addition to airport announcements, affected passengers would have received email updates via the airline’s third-party messaging platform, TripCase. Once an email address is provided at the time of booking, Cayman Airways passengers automatically receive their initial reservation confirmation via TripCase, as well as pre-trip reminders and notifications of any gate changes, flight delays, schedule changes, and such. Cayman Airways is in the process of extending this communications tool to SMS messaging for passengers, specifically for notifications about delays.

“Passengers affected by extended delays this past week who may still have questions or concerns, are encouraged to contact the airline directly by emailing customercare@caymanairways.net.”

Fabian Whorms sincerely apologized to “those passengers affected by the unanticipated delays”, and thanked “them for their patience and understanding”.

He continued, “Every day, we transport up to two thousand international passengers, and the grounding of our two new 737 Max 8 aircraft has complicated our ability to do that consistently to the high service standard that we are known for. We are grateful for all customer feedback received, and are diligently working on improving the customer experience during such irregular operations. Thankfully, even with a reduced fleet, extended delays are rare, as our operational teams in Flight Operations, Ground Operations and Maintenance, work hard on ensuring safe, enjoyable, and reliable service for the many who travel to and from our islands with us.”

What is the latest on the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft that have been grounded by all airlines?

It is not good. Despite manufacturer, Boeing, assuring everybody they have a “quick” fix, there idea of “quick” is different to every airline that used these new aircraft.

Boeing are still dealing with the software problem and other problems have also been found. It is doubtful whether the quick fix will be in place before this Christmas. The aircraft manufacturer’s latest claim is that they will be submitting a “fix” to the US FAA before next month.

However, The Seattle Times reported Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg saying he expects that by the end of the year, the FAA will approve his company’s fix for the troubled jet, which involves a fundamental redesign of the software system,

In the mean time we still love our airline but we have to wonder if so many people will book their flights with it.

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