Cabo Verde: President monitoring domestic flight situation

The president of Cabo Verde, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, said today he was monitoring the situation of air transport in the archipelago at a time when Cabo Verde risks having no domestic flights from Monday.

In a statement, Fonseca said that on Thursday, he had met with his economic affairs advisor to discuss air transport in the country. The same would be discussed today at a meeting with Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva, although without going into details.  

Inter-island flights in Cape Verde risk being suspended in three days, with TICV, the only company that ensures these connections, still not providing tickets to any destination from Monday.

According to a consultation made by Lusa, Transportes Interilhas de Cabo Verde (TICV) is only offering flights until Sunday, 16 May, and all connections and dates thereafter remain unavailable, as they have been for several weeks, making it impossible to buy tickets via the company’s website or travel agencies.

Lusa previously contacted TICV management but did not explain this situation, which follows the unavailability of tickets in March for flights in April and then in May, in this case only until 16 May. However, the situation has never involved such a short deadline, which according to industry sources contacted by Lusa, risks making flights unviable as early as Monday because there are no tickets on sale.

In 2020, domestic flights in Cabo Verde, operated only by TICV, handled around 125,000 passengers, down 286,000 (-230%) on the previous year, due to restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the end of April, when the unavailability of tickets for sale for May was already known, Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva recognised the difficult situation that the company is going through but said that the government would not allow “under any circumstances” Cabo Verde to have any problems with internal flights.

“Domestic flights are fundamental for the unification of the national market and the circulation and mobility of people, so the company has to ensure the flights,” said the prime minister.

In a statement released on 27 April, the Association of Travel Agencies and Tourism (AAVT) of Cboe Verde expressed concern over the unavailability of domestic flights from 16 May and asked the government to intervene.

“AAVT is hereby publicly expressing the enormous concern among our members at the news that inter-island flights are only guaranteed until next 16 May,” the association warned, after several dialogues with the only airline responsible for domestic flights and the Government.

The business association said that this was a “serious situation” and that it jeopardised the stability and planning capacity of national travel and tourism agencies and the planning of international operators themselves.

“Especially concerning emigrant passengers and tourists who want to visit different parts of the country and who, because of this lack of definition in the programming of inter-island flights, will certainly have to postpone their trips to Cabo Verde,” he said.

In the note signed by the president, Mário Sanches, the AAVT said that this lack of definition comes when the country needs flights and passengers circulating to and from the islands.