Binter Canarias takes a broad view in Africa

By Olivier Caslin
Posted on Friday, 25 March 2022 12:03

View of the E195-E2 aircraft manufactured by the Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer for the airline Binter Canarias. © EPA-EFE/SEBASTIAO MOREIRA

The company Binter Canarias provides service to most of the African countries around it. It is thus forming an increasingly solid link between the archipelago and the continent.

Established in 1988 by the Spanish airline Iberia to provide inter-island connections, Binter Canarias has continued to grow ever since. In addition to providing domestic connections to the Canary Islands and linking them to secondary airports on the Iberian Peninsula (Murcia, Zaragoza, Vigo), the Canary Islands operator first began expanding its activities to Africa in 2005. That year, Binter Canarias offered its first non-stop flights to the Moroccan cities of Marrakech and Laâyoune.

Things truly took off in 2012, when routes were opened to Agadir and Casablanca, also in Morocco, as well as Cape Verde. The following year, they expanded to Banjul, Gambia, and Dakar, Senegal.

Between 2014 and 2017, the company finally started offering services to Nouakchott, Mauritania and the Dakhla Peninsula. In addition to weaving its web across the continent, Binter Canarias has – at the same time – expanded its services to the Italian airports of Turin and Venice, and the French airports of Lille, Toulouse and Marseille, while strengthening its air links with the Balearic Islands. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Binter Canarias operated some 40 weekly flights.

A diversified fleet, adapted to the regional market

In 2018, the company carried a record number of 3.6 million passengers. These figures obviously fell during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and then rose once routes gradually started opening up again throughout the course of 2021. Last July, Binter Canarias first reopened its routes to Dakar and Mauritania. It was then able to offer its services to the various Moroccan airports between December and February.

The operator has a modern fleet made up of 29 aircraft – 24 ATRs and 5 Embraers. The length of the journey determines which aircraft it will use. Nouakchott and destinations further south are served by Embaer 195-E2s, which have the longest range, while connections to airports in northern Mauritania are operated by ATR 72-600s, which can take off and land on short runways.

The company’s managers now intend to take advantage of the specific features of this fleet, which is particularly well suited to the regional aviation market, to improve connections between the airports it serves in both northern and southern countries, by providing – if necessary – an overnight stay on the Canary Islands.

“This will give even more visibility to the Canary Islands as a destination,” said the company’s managers. In particular for the African clientele which, even though it was consistently increasing before Covid-19, only represents a little over a hundred thousand passengers each year.

In addition to leisure and business tourists, who are attracted by the archipelago’s fiscal facilities and climate, there is also health tourism – which has been developing rapidly in recent years – that the airline intends to support.

In 2017, alongside its traditional carrier activities, Binter Canarias also took over internal inter-island flights in Cape Verde, after Transportes Interilhas de Cabo Verde (TACV) ceased operations. The local subsidiary of the Canary Islands operator, Binter CV, also provides international services on TACV’s behalf, as part of a partnership that allows the Cape Verdean archipelago to be connected to other countries in the sub-region. In 2018, Binter CV opened a domestic route on the island of Madeira, thus further strengthening its parent company’s position in the region.

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