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Lusa - Business News - Cabo Verde: Cabo Verde Airlines to restart international flights from Sao Vicente in July




Praia, June 9, 2021 (Lusa) - Cabo Verde Airlines (CVA) resumes international flights from July from the Cape Verdean island of São Vicente, with a weekly connection to Paris, a request made several years ago.
According to information from the company, led since 2019 by Icelandic investors, who have concentrated international flights at the 'hub' on the island of Sal, CVA resumes commercial flights on 18 June, 15 months after suspending activity due to the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a flight to Lisbon.
After this inaugural flight from Sal, and according to information from the company consulted today by Lusa, in the expansion of the flight plan, CVA already offers tickets for the 3 July flight between São Vicente and Paris (Charles de Gaulle airport) and return the next day, for less than 300 euros (round trip).
A source from the airline explained to Lusa that this is a weekly flight (departure on Saturday and return on Sunday) with a stopover at Sal international airport, from where it departs and ends.
The same stopover regime will be applied from 28 June until 28 March 2022 by CVA, with departures from Praia airport, stopover in Sal, to Lisbon (Friday and Monday), and weekly from Sal, with a stopover in Praia, to Boston (United States of America).
In March 2019, the State of Cabo Verde sold 51% of the then public company TACV (Transportes Aereos de Cabo Verde) for €1.3 million to Lofleidir Cabo Verde, a company owned 70% by Loftleidir Icelandic EHF (Icelandair group, which took 36% of CVA) and 30% by Icelandic entrepreneurs with experience in the aviation sector (who took over the remaining 15% of the privatised 51% share).
CVA concentrated its activity on international flights from the Sal hub, leaving behind domestic flights.
The island of São Vicente, the second most populous in the archipelago, is now served by international commercial flights only by Portuguese companies, no longer having the connection to Lisbon by CVA, despite the conviction shown in July 2019 by the prime minister, Ulisses Correia e Silva, in reversing the decision, also in the face of local protest.
"It is just a matter of letting that patient [Cabo Verde Airlines] come out of the coma, recover well to gain strength, as is currently happening, it takes time and conviction," said Ulisses Correia e Silva, on a visit to Mindelo, São Vicente island.
Cabo Verde Airlines announced on 31 May, in a statement, the resumption of international flights on 18 June, 15 months after the suspension of activity, due to the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, initially starting with a connection between Sal island and Lisbon, in a return that will be gradual and will be done with two aircraft.
Quoted in the statement, the company's chief executive, Erlendur Svavarsson, said this is just the beginning.
In the statement, CVA added that depending on the vaccination rate and the unblocking of international borders, the launch of new frequencies and additional destinations is expected, as soon as pandemic conditions allow it.
In an interview with Lusa in the city of Praia on 15 April, Erlendur Svavarsson explained that the company's financial situation is now especially good, but he guarantees that the Cape Verdean state has not injected any funds, contrary to what happened with Portuguese competitors operating in Cabo Verde.
"In fact [the Cape Verdean state] has not injected any funds, unlike our competitors SATA and TAP, which continue to receive contributions from the [Portuguese] state. The government of Cabo Verde has been very diligent with public resources and has not given any money to CVA so far. Only guarantees, which means that the company is having access to loans, which now represent sufficient funds to take the next step in the process of refinancing the company, he noted.
SATA and TAP are the only airlines that so far maintain regular connections from the Cape Verdean islands of Sao Vicente, Sal and Santiago to Europe and the United States, but both are under intervention by the Portuguese state due to the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"CVA's financial situation is especially good because, despite the pandemic, we were able to refinance the company, we gained access to liquidity, with the support of the government," he said, referring to successive state guarantees - backing loans of around €20 million since November - for restructuring previous loans and salary payments to workers.
However, the company's chairman noted that over the last year it had been possible to keep on the more than 300 workers, albeit on a layoff basis, via the simplified model created by the government to support Cape Verdean companies affected by the pandemic, and term contracts had not been renewed.

PVJ/IMYN // AYLS
Lusa


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2021-06-10 10:31:17







 

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