Vasco Alexander de Figuere Vieria of the Cape Verde civil aviation authority says aviation remains a key revenue source at the airport on Ilha do Sal. Picture: Duncan Guy

DURBAN - A quarter of a century after apartheid, when South African Airways flights landed at Ilha do Sal in the Atlantic Ocean, the tiny Cape Verde Republic where it is situated, still sees aviation as a key revenue earner.

South African Airways flights between Europe and Johannesburg stopped there when the airline was denied rights to fly over much of Africa and had to take the long haul around the bulge of Africa. However, since the lifting of sanctions South African Airways now flies to Europe directly.

Now, the island country has privatised its national carrier in a partnership with Iceland Air and intends doubling the amount of traffic passing through Amilcar Cabral International Airport, according to Vasco Alexander de Figuere Vieria, a member of the board of Cape Verde’s civil aviation authority.

He was in Durban recently to attend the Africa-US Airport Issues conference.

Vieria said the airport had already seen a million passengers pass through it last year, largely on tourist charter flights.

“The principle revenue from Sal used to be from South African Airways,” he said, adding that the country also saw aviation as a key income earner in the future.

Cape Verde’s closest major centre on mainland Africa is Dakar, Senegal.

The Independent on Saturday