VINCI Airports, the airport management subsidiary of the diversified French services conglomerate, has assumed the management of all of seven airports in Cape Verde, an island nation off the coast of West Africa.
The French firm had already reached an agreement to take over the airports in July 2022, but has since been working to secure the necessary financial instruments.
Three development banks have stepped in to fund the deal, World Bank-IFC, Proparco (France) and DEG (Germany), to the tune of €60 million. The deal is certified under the Sustainability-Linked Financing (SLF) Framework and subject to meeting two environmental conditions: a progressive reduction in CO2 emissions and the participation in an Airport Carbon Accreditation program.
VINCI Airports is now in a position to take care of the seven Cape Verdian airports under a 40-year concession. The deal includes four international airports: Boa Vista, Praia, Sal, and São Vicente and three domestic ones, São Filipe, Maio and São Nicolau.
VINCI’s Portuguese subsidiary (ANA-Aeroportos de Portugal) is also involved in the deal, with a 30% stake.
Air transportation is strategic for the Portuguese-speaking country, which has pinned its hopes on the development of the tourism sector.
Despite a relatively low volume of passengers, in 2022 the country’s airports handled 2.2 million passengers, the archipelago’s geographical location means the country enjoys direct air links to Africa, Europe and the Americas.
Back in 2019, Loftleidir Icelandic, a company of the Icelandair Group, acquired a 51% equity stake in the national airline TACV with a view to replicate in the South Atlantic the sort of Transatlantic network it operates in its home country. However, the project did not work out as expected and the Icelandic investors withdrew from the project in 2021.
Cape Verde’s national airline, rebranded as Cabo Verde Airlines, has continued to operate as a government-owned carrier and received its first Boeing 737-8 MAX on July 19, 2023, marking an important step in its fleet renewal plans.