Cayman Islands Officials Eye 2023 Air Seat Surge
A projected one percent increase in airline seats dedicated to the Cayman Islands in the fourth quarter of 2022 represents a key milestone in the destination’s recovery from pandemic-imposed travel restrictions, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) officials said this week.
Flights to the Cayman Islands are expected to add 1,253 additional seats in the fourth quarter of 2022, a one percent increase over the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, said CIDOT officials in a statement. The increase represents a “positive indication of tourism restoration moving towards 2023.”
CIDOT officials cited “increased American Airlines connections through Charlotte and Miami,” along with “United Airlines’ growth in Washington D.C. and Newark” new, non-stop flights from Baltimore-Washington and “Southwest’s strong feeder markets in Texas” for the fourth-quarter seat increase.
“The airlift capacity report is a welcome indication of recovery as we look ahead to the 2022 – 2023 season,” said Kenneth Bryan, the Cayman Islands’ Minister for Tourism and Transport.
“The [government’s] easing of the travel regulations has unlocked pent-up demand,” Bryan said. The territory this week became one of the last Caribbean countries to end pandemic-imposed travel restrictions.
The CIDOT report also indicates flight service increases will continue in 2023. Airline seats originating in Dallas and Houston and bound for the Cayman Islands in the first quarter of 2023 are projected to increase five and 40 percent respectively, officials said.
Additionally, national carrier Cayman Airways will provide 1,280 seats to the territory via a new, non-stop route from Los Angeles, CIDOT officials said.
“Airlift is the oxygen of our islands’ tourism industry, and our global team has been working hard, engaging with the airlines to restore routes and seats,” said Rosa Harris, CIDOT’s director.
Destination officials are also tracking a handful of underperforming markets. “Many secondary markets with less frequent service, such as Philadelphia and Boston are pacing behind 2019 capacities,” said officials.
In addition, projected first-quarter 2023 airline capacity from the New York tri-state area market trails the same period in 2019 by eight percent, CIDOT officials said.
The region [has] “traditionally been the leading source market when temperatures are coldest and demand and accommodations rates, and subsequently tax revenue and on island visitor spending, are highest,” according to CDIOT.
“Year-over-year growth from the New York market is always a priority,” Harris said. “Instilling confidence amongst the airlines and sharing booking pace and demand indicators as contextual data in partnership with our accommodations sector will help the Cayman Islands extend our momentum.”
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