Cape Verde national flag carrier Cabo Verde Airlines launched its first flight between the African archipelago and Porto Alegre, Brazil.
The inaugural flight took place on Thursday, December 12th departing Porto Alegre International Airport Salgado Filho (POA) at 20:55 local time. It arrived at Amílcar Cabral International Airport (SAL) in the Cape Verde Islands at 07:55 local time.
On the Cabo Verde Airlines flight from Brazil was the airline’s deputy executive director, in charge of corporate affairs, Mario Chaves. When speaking about the island nation’s airlines new route with Brazilian daily newspaper Correio do Povo Chaves said:
“It is a gateway to South America, which will also benefit the Uruguayan, Argentinian and Paraguayan markets.”
Porto Alegre has a population of 1.4 million
Porto Alegre is the capital city of the state of Rio Grande do Sul and is the most important city in southern Brazil with a population of around 1.4 million people. The service will operate twice-weekly flights departing Cape Verde on Wednesdays and Fridays and from Porto Alegre on Thursdays and Saturdays.
These new flights will be of particular interest to South American travelers, as they will allow them to connect through the Cape Verde Islands to European and African destinations.
On top of the connections to other parts of the world, Cabo Verde is offering its passengers the opportunity to make a stopover in the Cape Verde Islands. By allowing passengers the opportunity to stay up to seven days in the Cape Verde Islands with no additional fees, the airline is hoping to boost tourism.
Cabo Verde Airlines is trying to replicate Icelandair’s model
The flights between Brazil and the Cape Verde Islands will be operated using a Boeing 757-200 aircraft with the capacity to carry up to 182 passengers. The aircraft on the new route will be configured with 22 seats in comfort class and 160 seats in economy class.
Given its strategic location in the Atlantic Ocean between South America and Africa, the tiny airline is hoping to replicate Icelandair’s model of being a stopover between North America and Europe.
This is, in itself, not surprising once you realize that Cabo Verde Airlines is part-owned by the Icelandair Group, with a 51% stake in the airline.
While speaking about the airlines plan at Porto Alegre International Airport before the inaugural flight, Cabo Verde Airlines’ Deputy CEO Mário Chaves told journalists including Airline Geeks about the airline’s plan, saying:
“This is an ambitious project, Cape Verde is a small country. Besides being on Cabo Verde Airlines I belong to a group, which is Icelandair, from an even smaller country. [Iceland] has 300,000 inhabitants but has a really strong hub. And it is this role model that we are bringing to Cape Verde, and this is what we want to turn Cape Verde into.”
While the plan sounds solid enough, Cape Verde Airlines will have to make people want to take advantage of their up to seven-day stopover program to make it work.
Cabo Verde Airlines will have to compete with TAP Portugal
The main obstacle will be having to compete on the new route with TAP Portugal who offers flights to both Lisbon and Porto from Porto Alegre.
The Portuguese national flag carrier easily beats Cabo Verde Airlines when it comes to connections throughout Europe and Africa as well, so it will be a tough sell.
If Cabo Verde Airlines can offer cheaper tickets like the Icelandair model their success could hinge on the cost-conscious traveler who just wants to get from A to B as cheaply as possible.
What do you think about Cabo Verde Airlines’ plan? Please let us know in the comments.