Southwest Airlines Begins Nonstop Flights from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Cayman

The inaugural Southwest Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale receives a water cannon salute. (Photo credit: Cayman Compass)


GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands, Saturday June 10, 2017 – Last weekend’s start of Southwest Airlines’ daily nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale to the Owen Roberts International Airport was marked by a surprise flight gate party at the southern Florida airport, followed by continued festivities in Grand Cayman upon the inaugural flight’s arrival.

Southwest Airlines’ Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Mark Shaw, together with Miss Cayman Islands Anika Conolly, kicked off the celebrations with an honorary ribbon cutting ceremony at the gate, signifying the start of the new daily flight service.

(Left to right): Tom Ludington, US General Manager Department of Tourism; Batabano Dancer; Mark Shaw Southwest General Counsel & Corporate Secretary; Anika Conolly, Miss Cayman Islands 2017; and Brad Hawkins Senior Advisor – Communication Southwest.

Unsuspecting travellers were showered with Cayman’s vibrant island spirit and rich local heritage as elements of the destination’s two most beloved on-island events, Pirates Week and Carnival Batabano, came to life right before their eyes with live entertainment and dancing. Rounding out the festivities were destination-inspired giveaways and refreshments for passengers to enjoy prior to the inaugural flight.

During the flight, guests were given the special “Caymankind” treatment as they travelled to Grand Cayman, soaking up everything from energetic Cayman Carnival dancers to enticing gifts and giveaways such as complimentary admission to various on-island attractions and even free return two-night stays.

But the revelry didn’t end there, as key Southwest Airlines executives and local island performers, along with Conolly, warmly greeted the passengers immediately after deplaning on the GCM airport tarmac. Travellers were delighted as they were escorted into the Cayman Islands’ airport with a parade of excitement and high energy surrounding them, providing an unforgettable beginning to their Cayman adventure.

“We are so thrilled to welcome Southwest Airlines as our newest airline partner and introduce daily nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Cayman, a key US market for us,” said Rosa Harris, Cayman Islands’ Director of Tourism. “We couldn’t imagine a more fitting way to celebrate this exciting new alliance and enhanced accessibility to our destination than with a special ‘Caymankind’ tribute to our loyal guests. This launch helped to set the stage for what we can only hope will be the first of many more memorable visits to our shores.”

The new route, utilizing a Boeing 737-700 aircraft, departs Fort Lauderdale daily at 11:45 a.m., arriving in Grand Cayman at 12:20 p.m. The return flight leaves at 1:15 p.m. and arrives to Fort Lauderdale at 4 p.m.

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