The first thing we are going to do before discovering the meaning of the term cabotage is to know its etymological origin. In this case, we can say that it is the result of the sum of two clearly delimited words that come from Latin:
-The term “caput”, which can be translated as “head”.
-The suffix -aje.
According to DigoPaul, the concept is used to name the movement made by an aircraft or a boat between different places in the same country.
The term is usually used in the field of freight or passenger transport, as long as the national territory is not left. A domestic flight in Argentina, for example, can take off from the city of Buenos Aires and go to San Carlos de Bariloche. The fact that these two locations are part of the same State (Argentina) makes the flight a domestic one.
If the flight departs from Buenos Aires but arrives in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, it will be an international flight and not a domestic one. The same can be said of the plane that takes off from Madrid (Spain) bound for the Argentine capital or any other point that is located outside of Spanish territory.
It is interesting to know that, although there are different theories about the origin of the term in question, there is one that establishes that it is due to a Venetian explorer and sailor named Sebastián Caboto (1484 – 1557). It is considered that the starting point of that word may be in him because precisely during the 16th century what he did was to travel the eastern coast of North America by means of a coastal navigation.
Cabotage flights are often carried out between small airports, unlike international airports. Travel between different countries requires more infrastructure.
In the case of water transport, cabotage usually takes place by navigating close to the coast: from end to end. Coastal vessels, in this framework, do not go too far from the land.
In the same way, we cannot ignore the existence of what is known as cabotage services. Under this term there is a type of service consisting of the national transport of travelers carried out, temporarily, by another state different from yours in the European Union. It also happens that in that state there is no headquarters.
There is very strict legislation on this type of service at the European level. However, that also does not mean that each country establishes its own measures. Thus, for example, France does not allow non-resident carriers on its territory for a period of more than 30 consecutive days or 45 days throughout a year.
It is important not to confuse cabotage with sabotage (an attack that is carried out against an infrastructure or a product as a fighting method) or with boating (the water sport also called canoeing), two words that are written in a similar way.