On December 11, 2019, Lagos received the first batch of passengers aboard Cabo Verde’s B757 inaugural flight, joining the growing number of foreign airlines operating in Nigeria.
The airline was brought to Cabo Verde (formerly Cape Verde) by Loftleiðir Cabo Verde, a holding composed partly by Loftleiðir Icelandic, a company of the Icelandair Group. They bought Cabo Verde Airlines — then called TACV — upon the privatisation of the company by the Cape Verdean government in March this year, after managing the airline for awhile on behalf of the government.
The country manager of the airline, Tariye Orianzi, said the airline wants to benefit from Cabo Verde’s privileged location which is right between the Americas, Africa and Europe, to create powerful connection options within the shortest possible time. They want to emulate the Icelandair model, which transformed Iceland, a small country in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, into a major gateway.
Ms Orianzi said the major advantage the airline has is its geographical location – where other airlines spend over 20 hours flying from Nigeria to the US for instance, Cabo air will take 13 hours 35 minutes.
“From Cabo Verde it is easy to connect four continents (Africa, Europe, South America and North America) in the shortest possible time when compared to other airlines. Further, Cabo Verde Airlines stopover option allows passengers to stay in Cabo Verde (which is a huge tourist destination) up to seven days with no additional costs on airline tickets, before flying to their destination. This is also a huge advantage. Aside from Lagos, we recently launched new routes, namely Washington D. C. and Porto Alegre, in Brazil, widening the options for our passengers. From Lagos to Washington D. C. on Cabo Verde Airlines, one will take 13 hours 25mins including the layover in Sal, Cabo Verde. The next shortest duration by other airlines is 20 hours 25mins.”
Unlike some foreign operators in Nigeria, Orianzi says Cabo Verde plans to interline with domestic operators. “We need to partner with local airlines to feed traffic from the other major cities such as Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano.”
The convener of Aviation Round Table, Gbenga Olowo who was on the inaugural flight from Lagos, said the route being taken by the airline has its advantages and disadvantages but noted that the merits are higher.
“The merits of that route by far outweigh the demerits. The advantage of taking that route is that it links up immediately to South America and the South parts of the USA and that is going to stimulate a lot of commercial payload between Nigeria and those continents. Travelling to those places have been very cumbersome; it is either you go down to South Africa or you go up to the north in Europe to go to South America and the Southern part of US like Miami. There is a lot of cargo business from Miami so that is going to be a good advantage for not just Nigeria, but the entire West Africa.
“The negative thing that I noticed was the delayed departure and arrival, they must pay attention to schedule integrity. The integrity to schedule of most African carriers is questionable. If you are making a connecting flight from Sal to the US and you are departing Lagos late, by the time you get to Sal, I hope the flight from Sal to the US or South America would not have departed. So they should pay good attention to scheduled arrival and departure,” Olowo said.