There is good news for people wishing to travel to Maio. There is now transport to the island six days a week from Praia. The flights remain the same – on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The ferry now operates four days a week on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. This means the only day when travel isn’t possible, except by private boat transfer, is Saturday.
Cabo Verde Airlines’ recent problems has resulted in having to cancel some 52 flights since 2 July. The company explained that this was due to a shortage of planes. It is hoped that this situation will be resolved shortly, following the acquisition on lease of two new planes.
Icelandair managed the company until recently, in preparation for privatisation. That arrangement has now come to an end. The government of Cape Verde now hopes to be able to initiate the privatisation process shortly. The irregularity of flights brought about by the shortage of planes has resulted in permission for Cabo Verde Airlines to operate in Italy to be revoked. Consequently flights into and out of Rome’s Fiumicino Airport have been suspended. Passengers inconvenienced by the flight cancellations will continue to be protected until the full schedule is resumed.
Cabo Verde Airlines only operates international flights, following Binter CV taking over the internal Cape Verde routes. Cabo Verde Airlines was formerly known as TACV (Transportes Aéreos de Cabo Verde). The company rebranded earlier in 2018, in order to more closely identify it with the country in which it is based.
Over the past couple of years, airport improvements have been underway on the island of Sal. The Amilcar Cabral International Airport now has new departure lounges and an attractive courtyard for departing passengers. These improvements have made the experience of flying from Sal much more pleasant. It seems that Cape Verde is investing in its transport infrastructure, with major works also underway at Praia airport. This investment helps to confirm the future of Cape Verde as major holiday destination. In addition to this building work, the operation of internal flights by Binter CV has also made travel within the country generally more reliable.
The construction of the new Maio port looks all set to proceed. It has been reported that the funding is now in place. The estimated cost of the project is €15m, together with a further €1.5m for the access road to the new port and training for young people on the island. The African Development Bank has backed the project. The president of the Bank will be in Cape Verde in July and this will coincide with the launch of the construction tender. Following technical investigations and studies, the new port will be located on the site of the existing port, close to Vila do Maio (Porto Inglês). It is understood that the ferry between Praia and Maio will be able to continue during the construction period. The new facilities should improve the experience for people travelling by ferry between Praia and the island of Maio.
TACV, the Cape Verde national airline, following recent rebranding, is now known as Cabo Verde Airlines. In addition the airline is planning to partner with TAAG, the Angolan national airline. TAAG abandoned flights between Luanda and Praia in 2016, because it was not considered to be a profitable route. The new agreement between the two airlines is planned to lead to a reinstatement of this route. In addition, the TACV current management agreement with Loftleidir Icelandic will cease in August of this year.
This rebranding is hoped to make for a stronger identity with the Cape Verde. This is part of the company’s restructuring.
Cabo Verde Airlines also hopes to add a new route between Cape Verde and Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. It also plans to strengthen its connectivity with Recife, Fortaleza, Milan, Paris and Lisbon. Cape Verde travel is gradually improving.
The extension and refurbishment of the Nelson Mandela International Airport in Praia is now well underway. A smart modern building is emerging from the building site, with a large new check-in hall, travelator and much improved taxi pick up area. If you remember the old waiting area under the tent, you will realise that improvement was necessary. Although not completely finished yet, it is already a vast improvement. Further work includes expansion of the freight terminal and a new fire station.
Cape Verde and China have been in discussions about the possibility of an air transport agreement between the two countries. If such an agreement is formulated it will allow both TACV and China’s Capital Airlines to fly between the two countries.
Luís Filipe Tavares, Foreign Affairs minister has stated that this agreement could be completed by the middle of 2018.
This latest potential agreement between the two counties is just one of several other areas of cooperation, such as defence and port security.
1 November saw the commencement of TUI flights between Amsterdam and Praia on Wednesdays. The flights will add Praia to the Amsterdam schedules that already include Sal and Boa Vista. This addition to the flights into Praia is hoped to improve tourism to Santiago. This island has been largely overlooked by flight and tour operators. But the largest island in Cape Verde has a lot to offer, from the capital city of Praia, the UNESCO world heritage site of Cidade Velha, the lovely town of Tarrafal, and the majestic mountains in the middle of the island.
If you are planning to travel within Cape Verde between 10 January and 31 March 2018, you may be able to book a flight for as little as 2000CVE (€18) plus taxes. Binter CV are offering this cheaper rate for this limited period. To take advantage of this offer this you need to book before 22 October. The Binter CV website is www.binter.cv