According to the company's flight plan, BestFly made its debut at 7 am with a connection from Praia (Santiago island) to São Vicente island and back, followed by the departure at 9.50 am from Praia to São Filipe (Fogo Island), with return.
The last two flights on the debut day of the new concession - which starts with an ATR72-600 scheduled to be in operation within a month - take place between Praia and São Nicolau, departing at 1:40 pm local and returning to the capital .
The Government of Cape Verde announced on Friday afternoon, in a statement, that it had granted the exploitation of the public interregional air transport service to the company BestFly Angola, for a period of six months, with effect from 17 May.
The operation in Cape Verde starts this Monday with the operator BestFly Angola, while the group is waiting for the certificate of air operator in Cape Verde, where it already has a company created since 2015, explained the administration.
In declarations prior to Lusa, the executive director of the BestFly group, Nuno Pereira, guaranteed that the objective is to present a project that goes beyond the concession, under an emergency regime, attributed by the Government due to the absence of flights as of this Monday. by Transportes Interilhas de Cabo Verde (TICV, owned by the Spanish company Binter).
"Our commitment to Cape Verde and the Cape Verdean people is total and it is our intention to permanently establish our operation in Cape Verde," he said.
The Government justified that the decision was taken "following the manifest decision" of the TICV "to cease its operations, as from 17 May", being, to date, "the only air operator that guarantees domestic flights and in view of the imperative need to guarantee internal flights and thus the constitutional right of mobility for Cape Verdeans ".
According to Nuno Pereira, BestFly is a company "with an Angolan matrix, but with an international presence", in geographies such as Dubai, Republic of Congo and Portugal.
"There will be minor programming adjustments [compared to the previous service, provided by TICV], but the essence of inter-island connectivity will be fully ensured. The company's commitment is to keep prices as competitive and as low as possible," said the executive director. of the Angolan group.
BestFly also guarantees that it will start recruiting local workers.
"Our commitment to Cape Verde is total and we intend to start immediately hiring local staff and certainly the best staff will be hired, guaranteeing the employability of Cape Verde nationals", assured Nuno Pereira.
Flights between islands in Cape Verde were in danger of being suspended, with TICV, the only company that provided the connections, not having available tickets for any destination for several weeks since Monday.
In the previous statement, the Government acknowledged that the covid-19 pandemic "had a devastating effect on the civil aviation sector" and the ICTV "was no exception", with a reduction in passengers carried, "negatively impacting its sales and results obtained, a situation that continues to prevail in the present year 2021 ".
"The company's shareholders made this situation known to the Government, still in 2020, and the Government promptly presented some types of assistance within the framework of the instruments defined to support the civil aviation industry, in order to overcome this situation. In the course of the talks on the support model that could be negotiated, the shareholders also expressed their disinterest in the business in Cape Verde and the consequent desire to stop the company's operations and liquidation, unless there was no interested buyer ", reads the statement .
He also recalled that the Government held negotiations to "find a solution that would allow the ICTV operation to continue without interruption" and "consequently to guarantee the air mobility of people and cargo between the islands", taking into account that it is the "only operator to operate in the domestic passenger transport market ".
The Government stated that "in view of this situation and the need to guarantee mobility" between the islands, "the obligation to seek an emergency solution resulted in an invitation to BestFly Angola to present a proposal", which "had as its consequence the envisaged signing of a concession contract for the operation of public interest services for the regular internal air transport of passengers, cargo and mail, including public service obligations, as provided for in the Cape Verde Aeronautical Code ".