- A Cayman Airways Boeing 737 MAX 8 landed with a damaged windshield, affecting several scheduled flights.
- The defect was in the outer layer of the windshield and did not impact the aircraft’s safety.
- The incident caused delays for subsequent flights, with a cascading effect resulting in multiple flights being affected over the next few days.
A Cayman Airways aircraft traveling to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) landed with a damaged windshield on Wednesday, January 3. On January 4, the airline released a statement that a minor defect was discovered upon landing in Los Angeles. This affected several flights that the airline had scheduled, as the airline removed the aircraft from service. However, the airline also stated that the defect would not affect the aircraft’s ability to safely operate.
The Cayman Airways aircraft that was affected by the damage was a Boeing 737 MAX 8. The aircraft was registered as VP-CIW. Per ch-aviation, VP-CIW is just over five years old and was delivered to Cayman Airways in November 2018. This aircraft fits 144 seats in standard economy and an additional 16 seats in business class to fit a total of 160 passengers.
Photo: Cayman Airways
The aircraft had the defect discovered after it landed at its scheduled destination in Los Angeles. VP-CIW was performing flight KX480 and had departed from Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM) in George Town, Cayman Islands, earlier that day. This route is flown as a twice-weekly service.
Typically, KX480 departs George Town at approximately 15:45 local time and arrives in Los Angeles at around 19:00 local time. The flight on January 3 departed at 16:23 local time and arrived about 20 minutes late, at 19:20 local time. This was a flight time of just under 6 hours.
Affected following flights
The damage to the aircraft was just on the outside layer of the windshield. Cayman Airways released a statement that said,
“This defect occurred in the outermost (non-structural) layer of the windshield, and whilst this defect does not affect the aircraft’s ability to be safely operated, a decision was taken by Cayman Airways to remove the aircraft from service in order to have the windshield replaced in Los Angeles before further flight.”
Because the aircraft was removed from service, other flights following the incident were affected. After the plane was removed from service, Cayman Airways was forced to dispatch a ferry flight for an additional aircraft. The aircraft eventually reached Los Angeles on the morning of January 4.
However, the original damaged aircraft was supposed to fly route KX481, connecting Los Angeles to George Town, at 07:00 local time. Due to the ferry aircraft arriving late, KX481 did not leave LAX until 15:34 local time, per Flightradar24. This was delayed for nearly 11 hours.
This delay created a cascading result of delays on the following flights over the next several days. Four flights on January 4 were affected, and six flights were affected on January 5. This includes two flights departing Grand Cayman, KX802 and KX106, to Barbados and Miami on January 4. This also includes four flights flying to Grand Cayman on January 5: KX803, KX605, KX606, and KX607, set to depart from Barbados, Kingston twice, and Havana.
Cayman Airways has also stated that any passengers affected by the delayed flights will receive a notification from the airline. The airline added that it maintains its steadfast commitment to safety as the primary focus of its daily operations.