Image by Rhian Campbell
By Andrea Lumsden
Updated to add: The Cayman Islands Government confirmed on 7 August 2020 that the reopening of borders had been pushed back to 1 October 2020 (source.)
It’s no secret that private jet charters have been the preferred mode of travel for wealthy travellers and business executives for decades. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic came a spike in demand for private flights from high-net-worth individuals as they scrambled to leave areas deemed high risk, or to simply avoid crowded airports and commercial flights.
One region that the affluent looked to visit during the initial stages of the pandemic was the Caribbean, which in ordinary times enjoys a reputation as a place to seek refuge from crowds and the rigours of daily life. Complying with shelter-in place regulations in a luxurious private villa by the sea under sunny skies was an appealing proposition for wealthy and globally mobile individuals as awareness of the virulence of COVID-19 increased.
The Cayman Islands welcomed high-net-worth individuals and celebrities during the early stages of the pandemic (before borders closed.) The choice to shelter in Cayman was no surprise given the British Overseas Territory’s popularity in the Caribbean for its modern infrastructure, low crime rate and excellent healthcare facilities. Cayman offered the additional appeal of reliable telecommunications facilities, permitting business continuity and connectivity with friends and family in other locales. Ease of access is another reason why globally mobile individuals choose the Cayman Islands.
According to Island Air, the only fixed-base operator (FBO) for international private charters to and from Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, the Cayman Islands ranks as one of the top Caribbean private charter destinations.
“Our ranking fluctuates from third to fourth in the Caribbean,” says Marcus Cumber, managing director at Island Air. “Nassau usually ranks number one because of its casino offering and its proximity to Florida, but we welcome at least 15,000 private air travellers to Cayman annually, and over 95 percent are from North America.”
Cumber also says that Island Air’s largest customers are NetJets, World Fuel, Jeppessen, Jetex and Baseops.
Travel planning recommences
The Cayman Islands Government (CIG) announced that from 1 September 2020 the first phase of reopening the borders will begin. CIG introduced a few regulations for travellers to follow when planning their trip to the Cayman Islands. These include: providing a negative COVID-19 test result from the 72-hour period prior to travel, applying for travel approval from CIG’s TravelTime and self-isolating with a health monitoring device for five days after arrival (source).
For those individuals keen to relieve the stress of adjusting to life during a pandemic with a trip to the Cayman Islands (and who wish to arrive by private jet,) they will find a number of charter companies offering service from major cities in the United States and Canada.
Companies such as evoJets offer flights from New York City, Boston, Miami and Atlanta. Flight costs will vary by type of jet and flight time. According to evoJets' online quoting system, a one-way private charter from New York City to Grand Cayman for up to eight passengers starts at around US$23,000 or approximately $2,800 per person.
On their website’s Cayman Islands page, evoJets states that the country “attracts elite private jet travelers for the tax-free opportunity, while the year-round warmth and delicious cuisine may keep them just a bit longer.” (Source) The company is currently available around the clock to assist with private travel plans.
As passengers begin to prepare for their trips following the announcement of the reopening of Cayman Islands borders, they can look forward to comfortable, private travel—without the airport crowds—from concrete jungles to white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and vast blue skies.
About the author
Andrea Lumsden has worked with Dart since 2013 and has been writing professionally since 2003. Graduating from University of Central Florida with a BA in Communication, Andrea has worked with clients across a range of industries, including financial services and real estate. Raised in the Cayman Islands by Costa Rican and American parents, she’s a New Yorker at heart who enjoys reading and travelling with her husband and three children.