Amílcar Cabral International Airport

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Amílcar Cabral International Airport
Aeroporto Internacional Amílcar Cabral
Airport terminal from main road
Airport type Public
Operator Aeroportos Seguranca Aera (ASA)
Serves Espargos
Location Sal, Cape Verde
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 54 m / 177 ft
Coordinates 16°44′33″N 022°56′53″W / 16.74250°N 22.94806°W / 16.74250; -22.94806Coordinates: 16°44′33″N 022°56′53″W / 16.74250°N 22.94806°W / 16.74250; -22.94806
SID is located in Cape Verde
Location in Cape Verde
Direction Length Surface
m ft
01/19 3,272 10,735 Paved
07/25 1,500 4,921 Paved
Statistics (2011)
Passengers 576,323[1]
Sources: World Aero Data[2]

Amílcar Cabral International Airport (IATA: SIDICAO: GVAC), also known as Sal International Airport or Amílcar Cabral Airport, is the principal international airport of Cabo Verde. The airport is named after the revolutionary leader Amílcar Cabral.

It is located two km 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 three international airports are near Praia on Santiago Island, on São Vicente near the capital of Mindelo, and on Boavista.

The airport's main runway is 3,272 m (10,734 ft) long and is the longest in Cape Verde. It is used for long-haul flights. It was also one of the designated emergency landing strips for the U.S. Space Shuttle.[3] The second runway is 1,500 m (4,921 ft) long and is used by small planes. Sal was the main hub for the national airline, TACV Cabo Verde Airlines; now it serves as a base for carriers Cabo Verde Express, and Halcyonair.

In 2011, the airport served 576.323 passengers.[4]


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 15 December 1939. 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 —- Caracas route. In 1961 jet service (a DC-8) on the route rendered the stop at Sal unnecessary, and international service was suspended.

Between 1960 and 1967 Sal was a stop of the Voo da amizade (Friendship Flight), a dedicated service between Brazil and Portugal. It was operated from 1960 to 1965 by Panair do Brasil and from 1965 to 1967 by TAP-Transportes Aéreos Portugueses and Varig. Only Brazilian and Portuguese citizens or foreigners with permanent residence in Brazil or Portugal could purchase tickets for those flights, which were extremely popular due to their low fares. At this time, Cape Verde was a Portuguese Overseas Province and therefore part of the territory of Portugal.

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 1983, South African Airlines was using the airport as a refueling stop for its Boeing 747SP service between South Africa and Houston Intercontinental Airport in the U.S.[5]

In 1985, TACV began service to Boston, Massachusetts using a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 provided by LAM Mozambique Airlines. 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 inter alia Amsterdam, Lisbon, Luxembourg, Madrid, Paris and Porto. Domestic destinations include Santiago and São Vicente.[6]

Facilities and transport[edit]

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 (Cobus 3000s) 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 no scheduled public transport; taxis, shared cars known as "aluguer", and rental cars are available.

The head office of Halcyonair is located in the first floor of the Concourse Hall.[7] In addition Cabo Verde Express has its head office in the Concourse Hall.[8] The duty-free shop is located after passport control but before security scanning, which only takes place as you enter the boarding lounge, which is shared for all four departure gates.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Inside the terminal at Sal Airport.
An225 Mriya, the world's largest aircraft, visiting Sal Airport.
John Kerry kicking a soccer ball outside the VIP Terminal.
Airlines Destinations
ASL Airlines France Seasonal: Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Binter Canarias Gran Canaria
Cabo Verde Express Boa Vista, Fogo, Maio, Praia, São Nicolau, São Vicente
Jetairfly Brussels
Seasonal: Paris-Orly
Luxair Seasonal: Luxemboug
Neos Milan-Malpensa, Rome-Fiumicino, Verona
Meridiana Seasonal: Milan-Malpensa
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca
TACV Boa Vista, Fortaleza, João Pessoa,[9] Lisbon, Maio, Natal, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Praia, Recife, São Nicolau, São Vicente
Seasonal: Bergamo,[10] Madrid
TAP Portugal Lisbon
Thomas Cook Airlines Seasonal: London-Gatwick, Manchester
Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium Seasonal: Brussels
Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia Seasonal: Stockholm-Arlanda
Thomson Airways Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow (begins 3 November 2016), London-Gatwick, Manchester
Transavia Seasonal: Amsterdam
Transavia France Seasonal: Paris-Orly
TUI Airlines Netherlands Amsterdam
TUIfly Cologne/Bonn, Hannover, Frankfurt, Munich
Seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse, Düsseldorf, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Gran Canaria
Vueling Seasonal: Barcelona
XL Airways France Seasonal: Paris-Charles de Gaulle


Airlines Destinations
Everjets Charter: Lisbon
Germania Seasonal Charter: London-Gatwick
Jet Time Charter: Aalborg, Billund
Travel Service Airlines Charter: Prague
Seasonal Charter: Budapest[citation needed]
Travel Service Slovakia Seasonal Charter: Bratislava[citation needed]
Travel Service Polska Seasonal Charter: Warsaw-Chopin[citation needed]
TUIfly Nordic Seasonal Charter: Copenhagen, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm-Arlanda[citation needed]


  1. ^ Cabo Verde: Aumento de passageiros revela retoma do turismo., retrieved 19 July 2015
  2. ^ Airport Information on World Aero Data
  3. ^ Space Shuttle Emergency Landing Sites
  4. ^ Cabo Verde: Aumento de passageiros revela retoma do turismo., retrieved 19 July 2015
  5. ^ July 1, 1983 Worldwide Official Airline Guide (OAG) Houston (IAH) flight schedules,, retrieved 2 October 2015
  6. ^ TACV Cabo Verde Airlines International routes,, retrieved 2 October 2015
  7. ^ "Contacts." Halcyonair. Retrieved on 14 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Contact Us." Cabo Verde Express. Retrieved on 14 December 2011.
  9. ^ TACV Cabo Verde to Add New Brazilian Routes from late-Oct 2015., from 27 May 2015
  10. ^ "TACV Resumes Milan Bergamo Flights from late-Dec 2015". 7 August 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Amílcar Cabral International Airport at Wikimedia Commons