In Autumn 2017, Cayman Airways had an in-flight shutdown. "The borescope inspection report showed the number three bearings had caused significant damage to the core of the engine - the high-pressure compressor, high-pressure turbine and low-pressure turbine were all impacted and the scrap rate of the affected parts was likely to be 100 percent," said Wayne Miller, VP Maintenance and Engineering, Cayman Airways. It was the last thing he wanted to be seeing. Miller needed a solution and he needed it fast.
Turnkey MRO for Cayman Airways
From in-flight shutdown to flexible MRO and lease solution: How a creative response helped Cayman Airways get back in the air - fast.
03.2018 | Text: Victoria Nicholls
Victoria Nicholls is a specialist for aftermarket topics such as engine MRO, leasing and asset management, as well as international market trends. The British-born editor lives in Berlin and works for MTU’s corporate communications in Hannover and Ludwigsfelde.
On the advice of his aircraft/engine lessor he called MTU Maintenance and other providers for their best, not-to-exceed proposals. Initially, Miller working with his lessor, received exactly what they had asked for: standard overhaul offers with replacement parts and some used serviceable material. But when MTU Maintenance approached them with an improved concept, Miller realized he needed something "alternative, unconventional and palatable. I was looking for an immediate, cost-efficient turnkey solution," he says. "MTU had exactly the right resources to both address my needs as a small operator and keep my lessor happy." In fact, his lessor's recommendations and existing relationship with MTU helped tremendously to make the process that much more comfortable for Cayman Airways.
A fresh coat of paint Since the end of 2017, the entire fleet, including the Boeing 737-300s, have borne the Cayman Islands flag on the side rudder.
The "Caymankind" mentality
Cayman Airways was founded in 1968 and operates three Boeing 737-300 with CFM56-3 engines, one Boeing 737-800 with CFM56-7 engines, two Saab 340B+ and two De Havilland DH-6 aircraft. It is a state-owned airline headquartered in Grand Cayman, the largest of the three Cayman Islands, and flies its 737 jets internationally to Cuba, Honduras, Jamaica and the USA, while flying its turbo prop fleet domestically within the Cayman Islands, located in the western Caribbean approximately 150 miles south of Cuba.
Although the airline is small, it has a big, Caribbean personality: "We emulate the 'Caymankind' mentality throughout our organization," Miller explains. "We're full of national pride and are highly service-oriented, but also reserved and laid back." For instance, the airline offers passengers two free checked bags in economy and three for business class passengers. Also in keeping with the nature of the Caymanian community, Cayman Airways passengers (aged 18+) receive a free rum punch inflight, as well as a free full meal on flights longer than 2 hours in duration. And listening to the Caribbean melodies in his voice, it is easy to believe the airline's motto, "Those who fly us, love us."
Cayman Airways is the flag carrier of the Cayman Islands. With its head office in George Town, it operates out of Owen Roberts International Airport.
3 Boeing 737-300
1 Boeing 737-800
2 Saab 340B+
2 De Havilland
For an airline like Cayman Airways, the MRO solution needed to be highly creative and fast in equal mix. Engineered and executed by MTU Maintenance's experts, it included an independent inspection to discover what really happened, a cost-efficient overhaul that used a donor module sourced via MTU Maintenance Lease Services, and a lease engine. "It was just the music I wanted to hear," Miller says.
Miller's fleet is operating as usual again and the damaged engine is going through the MTU Maintenance shop. "But based on the enthusiastic, experienced and proud employees we met at the Hannover facility, I'm sure we'll like the taste of the product when we eat it," he says.