A total of 240 passengers are currently stranded on the island of Sal. Laura Mariano of TACV’s marketing department explains that the aircraft that was supposed to transport these passengers to France has been held up at Praia International Airport since yesterday morning due to bureaucratic issues. “The AeroAtlantico Boeing brought passengers from Paris yesterday, but it requires authorization to return to France with the passengers currently held up on Sal.”
In the meantime, the documentation and procedures have been concluded, and TACV is currently awaiting authorization from Cape Verde’s and France’s respective civil aviation agencies to define the flight’s departure time. Until then, the passengers will remain in hotels, while the company is in permanent contact with other airlines operating in Cape Verde to try to secure alternative travel arrangements for them – on Monday, for example, TACV managed to embark 31 passengers to Lisbon and Paris on flights operated by other companies.
More complicated is the situation of the 300 passengers retained in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States – TACV has yet to secure an aircraft to get them to Praia. “We’re looking for aircrafts, but in this case the process is more complex because it’s a transatlantic operation – the United States requires aircraft landing there to have an Extended Twin Engine Operations (ETOPS) certificate. We’re doing all of the necessary procedures, but it’s hard to rent aircrafts with this certification. We know that the United States exercises a certain level of rigor in its authorizations. But we’ll continue to do our work and soon we’ll have some indication of the availability of an aircraft to substitute our Boeing,” says Mariano.
The ETOPS certificate is attributed to bi-motor commercial or executive aircrafts that can operate for hours on end without the need for a stopover.
In any case, two of TACV’s three Boeings – the Emigranti and the Mindelo – were grounded in the past several days for technical reasons, and only one of them – the Emigranti – has an ETOPS certificate. The Emigranti was flying from Fortaleza, Brazil to Praia last week, but had to be re-routed to the larger Amílcar Cabral International Airport on Sal due to an oil leak in its hydraulic system.
The Mindelo left Praia Saturday for Paris with 155 passengers on board, but 10 minutes after takeoff indicated a technical problem, forcing it to land on Sal as well.