Concerned by new CAL plane flying to Cayman Brac

| 19/12/2018

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian statusWhy was the new Cayman Airways Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft flown into Cayman Brac (8 December) when the Cayman Airways Pilots Association and other senior captains in CAL’s management team have recommended against it because the runway in Cayman Brac is 1,000 feet shorter than Grand Cayman’s and the new aircraft is not designed to fly in there? Which government official is insisting on this and more importantly why is the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) allowing this public safety issue to go unchallenged? Is it true that in every model run by CAL pilots with that aircraft going into Cayman Brac shows it overshooting the runway (running off the end) unless they use the “MAX speedbrake” which is not used for normal landings?

Auntie’s answer: On your first question, Fabian Whorms, the president and CEO of Cayman Airways, assured me that no concerns were communicated to him about the new CAL plane landing on the Brac: “I can confirm that Cayman Airways has never received any recommendations against operating the B737 MAX 8 aircraft into Cayman Brac from the Cayman Airlines Pilots Association (CAPA) or from any of the senior captains in the management team.”

For specifics on the aircraft and its operation, I reached out to the Civil Aviation Authority, which, as you know, is the regulator of Cayman’s aviation industries, including Cayman Airways.

The authority provided detailed reassurances of the safety of landing the Boeing 737 MAX 8 on Cayman Brac. I will outline the main points.

A CAACI official first pointed out that legislation is in place which dictates requirements for aircraft and airports, such as compliance with operating limitations specified in the flight manual; that the airport is satisfactory, looking at parameters such as its physical characteristics and the performance of the aircraft taking off and landing; and “for the purpose of commercial air transport, that the authority is satisfied that the operator is competent to secure the safe operation of aircraft of the types specified in the Air Operator Certificate (AOC)”.

Now, as to Cayman Airways flying the 737 MAX 8, the CAACI official said the airline holds an AOC issued by the authority that includes their newest aircraft. In accordance with the provisions of the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order, 2013, “Cayman Airways has demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the CAACI, that they are competent to secure the safe operation of that aircraft. The criterion for the CAACI’s satisfaction ensured that the requirements for the aircraft’s certification, flight crew training, maintenance arrangements, and operations competence were met.”

In addition, the official explained that Cayman Airways’ decision to fly into Cayman Brac would have been made upon the airline ensuring the legislative requirements could be met and would not require specific approval by the CAACI, and added, “There is also no evidence of any government official attempting to influence a decision at any time that would compromise safety.”

The official also pointed out that the 737 MAX 8 “is capable of operating safely into Cayman Brac subject to its weight, serviceability of aircraft equipment, and appropriate weather conditions, which is a normal risk assessment process used in evaluating operations into any aerodrome using different types of aircraft. This was demonstrated by the flight on Wednesday, 5 December 2018.”

One other thing. The official said that the authority “is not aware of any simulation undertaken by CAL with that aircraft that resulted in an overshoot of the runway in Cayman Brac”.

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Category: Airport

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  1. Dunz says:

    Typical mourners shouting off fables as if they are facts due to being too lazy to investigate it for themselves. Thankfully, your service is available.