Sunday, May 29, 2022

Cayman Airways should restart direct flights from Cayman to Panama

Cayman Airways should restart direct flights from Cayman to Panama

Several years ago, Cayman Airways operated a direct flight from the Cayman Islands to Panama. Notwithstanding that the powers that be may have had their reasons for discontinuing the route, Cayman Airways should now consider reopening the route. The case for this is set out below.
International hub

First, Panama's Tocumen International Airport is an international hub that people from all over the world can use to travel to Cayman and that Cayman residents can use to connect globally.

This is convenient for those going on business or children returning to school or to live in Europe or Asia or Latin America.

Panama gives Cayman residents and international travellers a second, viable hub other than the hustle and bustle of Miami International Airport.

New visitors

Having Panama reinstated as a direct hub may also mean that more Latin Americans will think about visiting the Cayman Islands as tourists or even coming to Cayman for work. For example, existing Latin American workers based in Cayman and who do not have a US visa to facilitate travel to Cayman through the US could use the Cayman-Panama route to visit their homeland or make their way back to Cayman.

In order for this to work though, Cayman authorities would also have to relax visa requirements for Latin American residents to come to Cayman. This would remove the burden that some Latin Americans experience, having to go through a long and difficult process to obtain a visa to reach Cayman.

The benefits go both ways as well. For Caymanians, it would expand the opportunities to have an exchange of culture and language.

New trade route

Of course, these types exchanges are not just cultural- there are also economic benefits in terms of establishing new trade routes for products and opportunities for Caymanian businesspersons to invest in Latin America or the other way around.

Expanded partnerships with Latin American countries are also strategically sensible as they reduce the reliance on North America for goods and services, especially in times of crisis like COVID-19 where shipping ports in many parts of the world were shutdown and Cayman residents were worried whether supplies from North America would be blocked or dry up at some point.

An expanded trade route with Latin America may remove some of these uncertainties.

Retail and wholesale shopping

The opportunities are not just for governments or large shipping companies or conglomerates though.

For example, some local retail entrepreneurs could shop wholesale in Panama and perhaps, get better deals which they could then use to offer more competitive prices to their Cayman customers or to increase their profit margins.

It may also give small local retailers a sense of independence- instead of relying on a larger, local monopoly or oligopoly that seemingly controls the market, small businesses could explore opportunities themselves and put the price and other controls in their own hands.

In the case of casual, individual, shopping, Panama also has shopping malls which carry high end brand names. This could be an alternative for Cayman residents who normally fly to Miami just to shop.

Less expensive flight

Another perk of a direct flight from Cayman to Panama is a possibly lower, overall fare than going from Cayman, then to Miami or Cuba and then Panama.

In addition to possible, lower travel expenses, there would be less connecting flights for people who wish to travel from Latin America to Cayman.

It can happen

If enough people think that the Cayman-Panama direct route would be a great idea for Cayman's international trade opportunities and tourism and Latin Americans are committed to visiting Cayman under relaxed visa requirements, then, the route makes sense and it should happen.

Clearly, the benefits are numerous and certainly outweigh the cons.


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