Jet services resume at Cayman Brac Airport
Jet services at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport in Cayman Brac resumed over the weekend after a successful inter-island firefighting vehicle exchange with the Cayman Islands Fire Service.
“After working diligently to move both fire trucks between Little Cayman and Cayman Brac fire stations, the Brac Aiport is now in a position to receive category 6 jet aircraft,” Chief Fire Officer David Hails said. “We shipped a larger fire truck from Little Cayman to Cayman Brac, as the jet carries significantly more passengers, and then shipped a smaller fire truck, that will provide adequate fire cover, back to Little Cayman.”
Chief Hails added, “It’s unfortunate this was delayed for over a week due to rough seas, but I am extremely pleased the vehicles were moved safely and successfully by Thompson Shipping between Thursday and Saturday (19-21 January 2017), enabling category 6 status to be restored on Saturday night.”
The Fire Chief also paid tribute to all personnel and departments involved in carrying out contingency plans to provide adequate cover under difficult circumstances.
“The teamwork and co-operation between the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS), Cayman Islands Airport Authority (CIAA) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) ensured the transition was carried out as smoothly as circumstances would allow, and I thank all who participated,” he explained.
“Our first priority was to ensure the safety of air travellers and residents alike,” Acting Chief Officer for the Ministry of Home Affairs Kathryn Dinspel-Powell explained. “We were also conscious of the need to restore jet service capability in Cayman Brac as quickly as possible in order to minimize the business continuity operations for Cayman Airways, and its passengers.”
The CIFS and the Ministry of Home Affairs have commenced the process of securing a replacement vehicle. In the three weeks since the incident, a suitable vehicle has been identified and it is currently being configured to meet the specific requirements of the department.
“The vehicle manufacturer fully appreciates our need to obtain a vehicle as soon as possible and they are working with us to ensure it can be configured and delivered in the shortest possible timeline,” Chief Hails added.
A team from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the CIFS visited the manufacturer located in the USA last week to ensure the vehicle met the requirements and to agree on specific details. The exact cost of the new vehicle has not been established at this time.
The driver of the fire truck Acting Lead Fire Officer Jason McCoy and passenger Acting Divisional Officer Garfield Ritch have returned home to Cayman Brac, but have not returned to work as they are still recovering from their injuries.
“We would like to extend sincere thanks to the Deputy Premier, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, Chief Officer Stran Bodden and the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Transport team, the District Commissioner Ernie Scott, Deputy District Commissioner Mark Tibbetts, the staff of Public Works and other public and private sector entities in the Sister Islands,” Acting Chief Dinspel-Powell added. “In addition to the RCIPS, the medical teams at both hospitals, Mr. Bing and the staff at Thompson Shipping and everyone else who assisted the Ministry and the CIFS in the wake of the unfortunate occurrence.”
The investigation into what caused the crash is ongoing and reports from the RCIPS, the independent accident analyst and the manufacturer are still pending at this time.
IMAGE: Charles Kirkconnell International Airport – FILE