Amílcar Cabral International Airport , also known as Sal International Airport or Amílcar Cabral Airport, is the principal international airport of Cape Verde. The airport is named for revolutionary leader Amílcar Cabral.
It is located 2 km (1.3 miles) west-southwest from Espargos on Sal Island. Until September 2005, it was the only airport in Cape Verde to serve international flights. (Cape Verde's other commercial airport is near Praia on Santiago Island.)
The airport's main runway (01/19) is 3,272m (10,734 ft) and is the longest in Cape Verde. It is used for long-haul flights. It is also one of the designated emergency landing strips for the U.S. Space Shuttle. The second runway (07/25) is 1,500m (4,921 ft) and is used by small planes. Sal is the main hub for the national airline, TACV Cabo Verde Airlines.
In 2004, the airport served 1,007,561 passengers (+21.4% vs. 2003).
The first airport on Sal Island was built in 1939 by Italy
, as a fuel and provisions stopping-point on routes from Rome
to South America
. The first flight, an arrival from Rome and Seville
, was on December 15
. In 1947, the Portuguese
colonial government purchased the airport from Italian interests. In 1950, DC-4
service on Alitalia
began on a Rome-Sal-Buenos Aires
route. In 1961 jet service (a DC-8
) on the route rendered the stop at Sal unnecessary, and international service was suspended.
In 1967, Sal was used again as a refueling stop, this time by South African Airways, for flights to and from Europe, since SAA was denied landing rights by most African countries due to the international boycott of apartheid. Later, Cubana and Aeroflot used Sal for refueling and passenger flights.
In 1985, TACV began service to Boston, Massachusetts using a LAM DC10. Boston hosts the largest Cape Verdean community in the United States. TACV flights to Boston have since been shifted to Praia International Airport. Other international destinations include Amsterdam, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, and Porto. Domestic destinations include Santiago and São Vicente.
Currently TAAG Angolan Airlines code-shares with TACV with a stop-over in Sal due to the European Union ban on the Angolan airline operating in its airspace.
Facilities and transport
Amílcar Cabral has one terminal. It is a two-story building containing check-in, waiting, and arrival areas, as well as shopping, banking, and passenger services. The second floor houses airport operations and airline offices. There are four gates, and buses are used to transport passengers to the aircraft stands.
The airport is located on the east side connecting with the road linking Espargos and Santa Maria, the island's main tourist destination. There is presently no scheduled public transport, but taxis, shared cars known as alugers, and rental cars are available.
Airlines and destinations
- Air Italy (Milan-Malpensa)
- Air Italy Polska (Warsaw) [seasonal]
- Astraeus (London-Gatwick, Manchester)
- Cabo Verde Express (Boa Vista, Praia, Sao Nicolau, Sao Vicente, Fogo, Maio)
- Corsairfly (Paris-Orly)
- EuroAtlantic Airways (Lisbon, Salvador Bahia, Recife, Porto Seguro, Natal, Fortaleza) [seasonal]
- First Choice Airways (London-Gatwick, Manchester)
- Futura (BudgetAir) (Madrid)
- Halcyon Air/Cabo Verde Airways (Boa Vista, Praia, Maio, Sao Felipe, Sao Vicente, São Nicolau)
- Jetairfly (Boa Vista, Brussels) [begins 26 October]
- Livingston Airlines (Milan-Malpensa, Verona)
- Neos (Bologna, Milan-Malpensa, Rome, Verona, Catánia, Bergamo, Salvador Bahia)
- TAAG Angola Airlines (Luanda, Sao Tome)
- TACV (Amsterdam, Boa Vista, Bissau, Fortaleza, Lisbon, London-Stansted, Madrid, Manchester [begins Summer], Moscow [begins Winter], Munich, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Porto, Praia, Recife [begins September], Rome-Fiumicino, Sao Felipe, Sao Nicolau, Sao Vicente, Warsaw)
- TAP Portugal (Lisbon)
- Thomsonfly (Birmingham, London, Manchester)
- Travel Service (Prague, Budapest) [seasonal]
- TUIfly (Düsseldorf, Hannover, Munich, Frankfurt) [begins November 4]
- TUIfly Nordic (Copenhagen, Göteborg, Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm) [seasonal]
- SATA International (Lisbon, Porto)
Former Airlines operated in (SID/GVAC)
- Finelli, Marco (November 2004) "Sal: Island Gateway in the Atlantic Ocean", Airliner World, pp. 64-66.
- TACV Timetable for Sal