- The Praia government wants to transform Cape Verde into a "navigation support platform and a regional air transportation hub," according to the Minister of Infrastructures and Transportation, Manuel Inocêncio Sousa. Cape Verde was ready for this after the completion of a new radar station network and other efforts to reach international security standards.
Minister Sousa spoke at the official unveiling yesterday, of the Pedra Rachada radar station on the island of Santo Antão, part of Cape Verde's radar vigilance system. The Cape Verdean Minister used the occasion to stress the idea that the newly opened station is one more major step the country's Airport and Air Security company, ASA, has taken toward modernising air traffic control in the Sal Flight Information Region.
Manuel Inocêncio Sousa highlighted the fact that ASA, in implementing the radar station in Santo Antão, was completing its air traffic control "triangle," the other two vertices of which are located on the islands of Sal and Santiago.
The opening of the station represented, according to Mr Sousa, another "important step" for Cape Verdean civil aviation, a sector the Minister considers "one of the most dynamic today in Cape Verde, in which we can see some of the most significant gains in the perspective of modernising the country."
The Minister also stressed that with the new Sal Oceanic Flight Information Region control system, ASA had made a considerable contribution toward "increasing the quality of the services we offer to the airplanes that use this corridor and to those that support our equipment." This contribution, added to the regulation of the air transportation sector, the acquisition of category 1 status from the US Federal Aviation Administration and "other gains", were said to serve as a springboard for Cape Verde's development.
These achievements are part of one of the Praia government's "larger objectives within the strategy of transforming Cape Verde into a service country in air transportation," according to Minister Sousa. In order for this objective to become reality, the executive had already approved a mid-range business plan for ASA that calls for heavy investments on the level of airport infrastructures.
The Cape Verdean Minister also announced that international airports had been projected for the islands of São Vicente and Boa Vista, and that measures are being prepared in order to "deepen the restructuring of TACV," the national airliner, so that the company may be ready for privatisation in late 2005 and be transformed into "a major tool" in Cape Verdean civil aviation. This was necessary so that TACV may serve as a "strong flag" to encourage the tourism and air transport service sectors in the country.
Concluding his improvised speech at Pedra Rachada, Mr Sousa did not forget to thank the officials from Spanish aviation authority AENA, partners of ASA and the support of the Spanish government in the modernisation of Cape Verde's air traffic control system.
The representative of AENA, the Spanish institution that donated the equipment for the three radar stations, also heaped praise on the new system, stressing that it is an important step toward consolidating air vigilance in the country. According to the representative, all that is left now is to make it function and work toward ensuring the continuous modernisation of the equipment.
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