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Angolan BestFly with more than 500 passengers in its first days in Cape Verde

The airline BestFly carried more than 500 passengers in the first days of the public service concession of inter-island air transport in Cape Verde, which began on Monday, the chief executive of the Angolan group, Nuno Pereira, told Lusa on Friday.

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"This is a number that is well above what we expected for the first week, with so little time for preparation and dissemination," said Nuno Pereira.

Between Monday and Friday - and taking into account that the company, at this stage, does not operate flights on Tuesday, for operational reasons - with six daily flights between the islands, BestFly, explained the executive director, carried "more than 500 passengers".

"At the end of the first week we have the operation running at 100 percent," he assured.

The Angolan group was chosen by the Cape Verdean government, after a market consultation, to take over a six-month emergency concession for the public inter-island passenger air transport service as of May 17.

The choice was announced on May 14 by the Cape Verdean government, in view of the absence, for several weeks, of tickets and flights scheduled by Transportes Interilhas de Cabo Verde (TICV, of the Spanish group Binter) as of May 17 - in an apparent dispute with the government, claiming financial support due to the impact of the covid-19 pandemic - the latter being the only company operating, for almost three years, the internal air connections.

The company's CEO had previously stated goals of lowering the price of domestic flights in Cape Verde and staying beyond the six-month emergency contract, which began Monday.

"What we committed to with the Cape Verde government was to find a solution where the Cape Verde state had no expense and we, as a company, had no expense. Our objective is to reach breakeven [financial balance]," he said in a previous interview with Lusa.

In this first week (until Sunday), the company planned to perform 30 flights, among all Cape Verde islands, in an operation that was set up "in only 15 days". Nuno Pereira assured that despite the difficulties in the sector, with a strong drop in demand in the last year, due to the absence of tourism, the market study carried out suggests that it is still "a very appealing business".

"We have our operation very well organized, with cost containment, with technical and operational efficiencies, because obviously we can't lose money. But the idea is also not to make a lot of money, and this is reflected by the ticket prices. They will go down, they will be cheaper, that is the idea", said Nuno Pereira.

"That was our commitment to Cape Verde. It was to bring transport solutions at a price that is balanced and consistent with the current situation that the world is experiencing," added the company's CEO.

The BestFly group is the result of a family-owned company created in Angola and also operates in countries such as Dubai, the Republic of Congo, and Portugal.

The operation in Cape Verde, where the group claims to have its own company, started with the BestFly Angola operator, pending certification by the Civil Aviation Authority (AAC) as a Cape Verdean operator, and with one ATR72-600 aircraft, with the second expected to arrive by the end of June.

"It only won't arrive sooner because of the maintenance it is undergoing, as soon as it is ready it will come to Cape Verde," he assured, assuming that BestFly's objective in the archipelago is to "continue after the six months" of the emergency concession contract.

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