Cabo Verde: August passenger numbers on domestic flights highest since 2019

Domestic flights in Cabo Verde, operated by a single airline, handled 18,233 passengers in August, the highest monthly figure since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to data from the Civil Aviation Agency (AAC), which regulates the sector, an overall movement of 36,466 passengers was recorded on domestic flights in August at the country’s four international airports and three aerodromes.

As each passenger is counted on boarding and disembarking (different airports), this represents a movement of 18,233 passengers on domestic flights, operated since 17 May only by Angola’s BestFly, under an emergency six-month concession awarded by the government.

A peak in overall movement had already been registered in July – since the start of the pandemic – which was then 25,829 passengers on domestic flights, in embarkations and disembarkations, at the country’s four international airports and three aerodromes (equivalent to 12,914 passengers).

The total number of passengers carried in August – 18,233, an increase of more than 41% compared to July – is also the highest figure since the start of the pandemic, but compares with more than 48,000 in August 2019, before the effects of covid.

On a year-on-year basis, the August 2021 movement of more than 350 flights compares with no commercial domestic connections from April until July 15, 2020, due to covid.

In July 2020, according to AAC, just over 3,600 passengers were carried (in 15 days) and in August just over 7,100. However, that number has been progressively increasing on a monthly basis, until last May’s drop to around 6,800 passengers, which compares with the more than 9,500 passengers handled the previous month (April).

In April 2019, before the restrictions and economic effects of the pandemic, then with only Transportes Interilhas de Cabo Verde (TICV) operating the domestic connections, domestic flights involved almost 34,100 passengers (68,199 movements). In March 2020, still at the start of the pandemic some 19,900 passengers (total 39,807 movements) were carried on domestic flights.

Meanwhile, Angolan group BestFly bought, at the end of June, 70 percent of the share capital of TICV from the Spaniards Binter, leaving the remaining 30 percent with the Cape Verdean state, planning to concentrate domestic air links using only TICV, which has not operated commercial flights since 16 May.

In 2020, domestic flights operated only by TICV, handled around 125,000 passengers, down 286,000 (-230%) on the previous year, due to restrictions imposed by the pandemic.