Yesterday, Cabo Verde Airlines began its regular service to Lagos, Nigeria from the city of Sal, in Cape Verde. The inaugural flight departed on December 9th from Amílcar Cabral International Airport in Sal, at 10:45 pm. An overnight flight, the aircraft arrived at Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos at 04:30 am local time.
Getting into the hub game
Cabo Verde is hoping that Nigerians will see the airline and its hub as a viable option for onward journeys to other parts of the world. In fact, the international hub on Sal Island will then connect to destinations in Cabo Verde as well as Senegal (Dakar), and a number of European cities (Lisbon, Paris, Milan and Rome).
“As from today, Lagos will be even more connected to the world, since with Cabo Verde Airlines’ hub in Sal it will be easier to travel to the United States, Brazil, and Europe. Cabo Verde is also still unknown to the Nigerians, which I am sure will change from now on” -Erlendur Svavarsson, Board Member of Cabo Verde Airlines
Beyond Sal being a hub airport, Cabo Verde Airlines has a Stopover program that allows travelers to stay up to seven days in the country. This obvious tourism initiative will encourage passengers to “explore the diverse experiences on the archipelago at no additional cost on airline tickets”.
Five times weekly
Cabo Verde Airlines will operate the Sal-Lagos route five times a week. Flights will depart on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays using one of the airline’s three Boeing 757-200s. The aircraft is configured for 161 economy class seats and 22 executive class seats.
Based on FlightRadar24 data from the inaugural journey, the flight takes approximately three hours and 50 minutes going east to Lagos (Flight VR628) and then four hours on the return flight back to Sal Island (VR629).
This is quite an exciting move for Cabo Verde Airlines as it looks to connect parts of West Africa to Europe as well as select American and Brazillian cities. However, it is concerning that the airline has such a small fleet, relying on just three Boeing 757-200s. One mechanical incident or weather-related delay could reduce its long-haul capabilities by 33%.
Furthermore, it will take some time to see if the airline will be able to lure travelers away from larger, more established airlines that connect passengers through large hubs in Europe.
Would you give the airline a chance and even take advantage of its seven-day stopover program? Let us know in the comments!