TACV was established in 1958. In July 1975, following the independence of Cape Verde, the airline was designated as the national carrier and became a public company (that means government-owned) in 1983. It employs 788 staff. The Cape Verdean government is currently preparing the airline for privatization. The privatization of TACV is supposed to be concluded in 2014. Among the foreign airlines that are interested in acquiring the national airline are the Chinese (Okay Airlines) and Angolan (TAAG Angola Airlines) airlines.
European flights began in 1985, with Lisbon as first European destination of TACV. In 1996 TACV got its first Boeing 757-200, brand new and directly from the Boeing factory, in Seattle, considered as “the pride and joy of Cape Verde Airlines", baptized with the name B.Leza. With B.Leza (regristration D4-CBG), TACV begins flying to Europe with its own aircraft and crew.
On 28 September 1998, a TACV de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter (registered D4-CAX) carrying Carlos Veiga, then Prime Minister of Cape Verde, 18 other passengers and three crew members capt/instructor Socorro,first officer Elianne and third cockpit crew, crash-landed at Francisco Mendes Airport (serving Praia at that time) during a landing attempt in stormy weather, in which one bodyguard of the minister was killed. Four other people were injured and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair. Upon approach following the flight from Preguiça Airport, the aircraft had been hit by a gust of wind in an instant when the pilots intended to execute a left turn, and forced down.
On 7 August 1999 at 12:02 local time, the domestic TACV Flight 5002 from São Pedro Airport to Agostinho Neto Airport crashed into a mountain on Santo Antão island at an altitude of 1370 metres, killing the 16 passengers and 2 crew members on board. The domestic flight had been carried out using a Dornier Do 228 (registered D4-CBC) on this day. Due to bad weather conditions with rain and fog, the pilot was prevented from landing at the destination airport (which was only VFR-certified), so he had decided to return to São Pedro. The aircrash marked the worst aviation accident in the history of both Cape Verde and TACV.