As Chairman of the Board of Cayman Airways, Jude Scott is making his first foray into the aviation industry. As a retired partner from Ernst & Young he has the requisite business acumen, energy and time with which to lead the Board of Cayman Airways through these challenging times.
Mr Scott has quietly, yet authoritatively, assumed the role of Chairman of the Board with a firm belief in the importance of effective leadership and of the new Board’s ability to work with Cayman Airways’ Executive Team. Together they will leverage talent to accomplish operational excellence and develop high performing teams at all levels of the organisation.
When considering his appointment to the Board, Scott stripped it to its bare bones, allowing none of the nationalistic empathy, which so often is associated with Cayman Airways, to cloud his judgment. Rather, he has focused his efforts on harnessing the tremendous talent and knowledge available within the company.
A national airline can become a strategic, albeit somewhat expensive, instrument of economic development for a small island nation such as the Cayman Islands. Consider that Cayman Airways is a national airline with a relatively modern fleet of jets and a fleet of regional aircraft for shorter routes, giving the Cayman Islands considerable control of the air access into and out of the country. Control which is a competitive advantage for a local economy based largely on the twin pillars of financial services and tourism. For more than 40 years, the Cayman Islands has utilised this tool to develop its economy, providing an air bridge to the Sister Islands and frequent, reliable air service to major markets for tourism and trade with price competitiveness and accessibility to the international world for residents. Nonetheless in the last decade, the national airline has faced unprecedented challenges, ranging from the 9/11 catastrophic blow to global travel to the 2008 soaring fuel prices.
And yet, undaunted, the Board and Management, are embarking on an ambitious plan to transform the airline, looking to an agreed upon ‘Polished Diamond’ vision as guidance.
This vision for the airline is quite simply this:
- to be a top quality airline,
- deliver top quality service,
- attract the best and brightest Caymanian talent, and
- develop its people and the airline to reach their full potential.
The vision may sound simplistic, but it is one which Scott believes in. Transformation in the midst of crisis will be a big, complex task that will invariably require tough, decisive actions in the face of huge losses and a burgeoning cost structure. The Board and Management have set out to systematically reduce costs by renegotiating key leases, improving the use of technology, removing redundancies and increasing revenues using an improved schedule, more effective yield management process and the most brilliant of basic principles – improving customer service.
“As a government we absolutely recognise the strategic importance of a national airline,” said the Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush. “The Board of Cayman Airways has a strong vision, and led by Mr Scott it has a depth of relevant business and aviation experience which will see it emerge on the other side of this global economic crisis as a viable business. Mr Scott’s experience, leadership and direction will facilitate the introduction of a renewed focus on effective corporate governance and risk management combined with economic and performance accountability – and I am delighted he accepted this appointment.”