Major lessor Air Lease Corp (ALC) has confirmed the delivery of a third Boeing 737 MAX 8 to Caribbean carrier Cayman Airways. The just over one-year-old aircraft arrived at the airline’s base at Owen Roberts International Airport in George Town on Grand Cayman late last month.
Commitment to work through challenges
The plane, registered as VP-CIY, made the five-hour and 32-minute long journey from King County International Airport-Boeing Field in Seattle on March 28th. It has yet to operate its first revenue flight for the airline.
Its two fleet-mates, VP-CIW and VP-CIX, arrived in November 2018 and March 2019, respectively. Cayman Airways’ MAXs are meant to replace the airline’s two remaining 737-300 jets.
“We are very fortunate and appreciative of having ALC as our aircraft lessor while we retire and replace our aging B737-300 aircraft with the new B737-8 aircraft model. ALC was selected by Cayman Airways in 2016 after a competitive public tendering process, and ALC has subsequently demonstrated a very strong commitment to working with Cayman Airways through the most difficult of industry challenges,” said Cayman Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, Fabian Whorms, in a statement shared with Air 101.
The 737 MAX is the third generation of Boeing 737s that ALC has leased to Cayman Airways. The partnership has included 737-300s and 737-800s. Only two 737-300s, averaging 25 years between them, now remain in the carrier’s fleet. However, these are both leased from Aercap. Cayman Airways operated one sole ALC 737-800 for two years between 2016 and 2018.
“ALC is honored to work with Cayman Airways, the national flag carrier of the Cayman Islands, to modernize the airline’s fleet and expand their route network,” Steven F. Udvar-Házy, ALC’s Executive Chairman said in the joint statement. “The new technology 737-8s will further the airline’s long-term goals, providing advanced technology, passenger comfort, and fuel-efficiency.”
First airline to suspend MAX operations
Cayman Airways was the first airline to voluntarily ground the MAX following the two fatal accidents that led to the type’s lengthy and costly global flight suspension. It resumed flights with its two MAX 8s in late February this year.
According to flight data, the airline has operated them between Sir Captain Charles Kirkconnell International Airport on Cayman Brac and Miami International Airport in Florida. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands cleared the MAX for return to service on January 27th, the same day as the UK.
Could ALC renew its MAX orders?
ALC is one of the largest aircraft lessors in the world. Before the crisis, it had placed orders for 195 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Following a surge of cancellations and conversions last year, it is still left with 107 unfilled MAX orders. However, following the return of the type’s return to service in most major markets, the company could be considering a reorder.
Simple Flying has reached out to Cayman Airways for additional comments but was yet to receive a response at the time of publication. This article may be updated with further details at a later stage.