Air Transport World

Sir Turtle, moving forward steadily. (Cayman Airways) (Company Profile)

Cayman Airways, the government-owned flag carrier of the Cayman Islands, is not a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle," despite its logo.

Looking like a cross between a Ninja Turtle and a pirate, the logo actually is "Sir Turtle" and represents both the airline and the Cayman Islands group. Originally, the three islands were called Las Tortugas, because of the large number of turtles found there by the early explorers, "gentleman adventurers," i.e., pirates and other sailors of the time.

Today, Sir Turtle represents an airline that is slowly moving forward, recovering from a combined blow of increased competition and a drop in tourism in the islands.

The airline itself is representative of the numerous airlines created to operate throughout the Caribbean, promoting the island nations they serve. It began life as Cayman Islands Airways, a seaplane operation founded immediately after World War II by King Parker, a U.S. former bomber ferry pilot. He operated for 14 months between Grand Cayman and Tampa, Fla., before engine trouble forced him down in Miami, where his aircraft was seized by creditors, ending his airline career.

His backers then formed Caribbean International Airways, to be headed by former RAF Wing Commander Owen Roberts, who, after losing three seaplanes, primarily to bad weather, was instrumental in getting an airport built on Grand Cayman. It was named in his honor and on Nov. 28, 1952, he landed the first aircraft there. …

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