flights home page | forum »

What`s bad at TACV ? Who`ll put it right?

Here is a summary of service issues with TACV

• Local and international flights are often late or delayed. The flight from Boston to Praia can be a day late. TACV gives no explanations. Does the staff care?
• If you buy a TACV ticket you must confirm that flights are leaving on schedule as TACV flights often leave late. But they also leave early without warning. Praia Boston flights have left two hours early. Praia Fogo flights have left an hour early, which means that the return flight also leaves early.
• TACV is state owned so ministers and bureaucrats can at any time force the airline to give them a seat . Passengers who have paid for a flight and are at the airport already are then denied boarding. TACV employees and their friends can also arrive at the airport and take precedence. No compensation is paid.
• TACV leaves baggage behind when the aircraft becomes overloaded. This is not unusual on the flight out of Boston, because returning Cape Verdeans are taking so many heavy items to their friends and relatives.
• In-flight service on medium and long-haul flights often falls well below acceptable standards, where the crew display little interest in assisting passengers.
• Toilets at the front of the aircraft are reserved for crew use only.
• Check in agents arrive at the last minute and make no effort to alert booked passengers waiting in other areas about flight departures. Even where there are only 10 other passengers they will take a perverse pleasure in denying boarding to latecomers. They then demand a fine to put you on the next flight. The nasty attitude of agents is something passengers remember.
• Passengers have been kept waiting for hours on a plane because the pilot and co-pilot had fallen out over a girl.
TACV has had poor management. A French Canadian was paid a $1m salary and equivalent expenses, including a house in Dakar, Senegal to turn the airline round, after the World Bank got fed up with bailing it out. He started new routes to Stansted and Fortaleza, but nobody bothered to make a sales pitch to tour operators, so the planes flew almost empty. He was replaced by the brother of the prime minister.

Internal flights are usually full, and with the failure of Halcyonair, TACV has a monopoly, with very high fares. Yet it loses enormous amounts of money. Its aircraft have been grounded for failures in maintenance and one lost its undercarriage on its take-off run at Dakar. Fortunately nobody was hurt but the aircraft was a write-off. With only three ATRs to operate a complicated schedule, the loss of one or two planes to maintenance issues creates havoc with time-keeping.

The Government has been told to merge TACV with Halcyonair and the charter operator Cape Verde Express. CVE made money because it chartered aircraft to tour operators, in frequent emergencies when TACV service failed. The merged airlines would be sold. But it seems foreign airlines lack interest. Are they deterred by all the free-loading ministers, bureaucrats and TACV friends and relatives they would have to carry free?