Ar­gen­tine Air­lines sus­pends flights to Venezuela

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

Ar­gen­tine Air­lines has be­come the lat­est car­rier to sus­pend flights to the Venezue­lan cap­i­tal, Cara­cas.

The com­pany said it had con­cerns over se­cu­rity in Venezuela be­cause of in­creas­ing crim­i­nal vi­o­lence and po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty.

It joins dozens of air­lines who have taken sim­i­lar ac­tion.

Iata, the trade body for the world's air­lines, says Venezuela is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly iso­lated.

Peter Cerdá, vice-pres­i­dent of Iata, said last week: "The sit­u­a­tion has be­come in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult, most of Iata's mem­bers have left Venezuela. There are only six or seven car­ri­ers left op­er­at­ing a very low flight fre­quency.

"Venezuela is be­com­ing dis­con­nected, it's prac­ti­cally dis­con­nected from the rest of the world, above all by air, and we can't see any so­lu­tion in the short term."

Since 2003 Venezuela has oper- ated a se­ries of cur­rency ex­change con­trols man­aged by the govern­ment.

Air­line com­pa­nies have been at­tempt­ing for years to change the lo­cal bo­li­var cur­rency it re­ceives when it sells tick­ets in Venezuela into dol­lars.

But the govern­ment strictly con­trols the amount of for­eign cur­rency it al­lows onto the mar­ket.

Mr Cerdá said pas­sen­ger traf­fic in Venezuela had dropped by 75% in the last four years.

Most of the air­lines that have left re­ported dis­putes with the Venezue­lan govern­ment over un­paid con­tracts and wor­ries over crew safety.

In Au­gust the pres­i­dent of the Pana­ma­nian air­line Copa, Pe­dro Heil­bron, told AFP that the com­pany would con­tinue to op­er­ate in Venezuela de­spite the dif­fi­cul­ties.

"We are be­com­ing prac­ti­cally the only op­er­a­tor in the mar­ket but our in­ten­tion is not to leave, not to aban­don the mar­ket in Venezuela."

He said Copa crews would not stay the night in Venezue­lan cities.

The United States air­lines United and Delta, and the Colom­bian air­line Avianca, sus­pended flights to Venezuela this year. The Ger­man air­line Lufthansa left in 2016.

Air Canada, Aeromex­ico, Al­i­talia, Lan, Tam, and Gol left be­tween 2014 and 2015.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.