Dispute with Aruba, Curaçao forces Avior to drop flights

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Dispute with Aruba, Curaçao forces Avior to drop flights

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Jan 27, 2018

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Venezuela’s dispute with Aruba, Curaçao forces Avior airlines to drop flights
January 26, 2018

MIAMI (AirwaysMag)

Venezuelan carrier, Avior Airlines, announced it is to cease flying to and from the Caribbean islands Aruba and Curaçao. The airline’s statement was published on its website and social media feeds.

The Venezuelan dictatorship, led by President Nicolas Maduro, ordered a unilateral border closure with Caribbean Islands Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire (ABC Islands) on January 5, 2018 because of “mafias that are constantly trafficking strategic goods for the nation” to be commercialized illegally on their soil.

All sea and air traffic between Venezuela and the ABC Islands was halted on January 5, leaving stranded thousands of passengers on both ends coming back from their year-end holidays.

Passengers were forced to sleep at the airport terminal in Aruba and Curaçao until the Venezuelan government lifted the closure. However, the INAC (Venezuelan Aviation Authority) issued a statement in which the closure had been extended until further notice.

A few “humanitarian flights” were permitted to leave Venezuela empty and return full of stranded passengers between January 5-10. However, after most passengers were repatriated, all flights between both countries were completely halted.

Avior Airlines, the country’s largest privately-owned airline, said the suspension of their flights to Aruba and Curaçao remains until further notice.

The airline said it will not commit to reschedule tickets. “Every affected customer, Venezuelan or foreigner, must ask for a refund [of the tickects]” said the airline.

Currently, Venezuela has the highest rates of inflation worldwide, with over 200% being registered since January 1, 2018.

Avior’s plans for expansion have been disrupted many times in the last months. On November, the Venezuelan carrier was added to the European Union (EU) blacklist of airlines on its latest updates of the EU Air Safety List.

Avior intended to launch flights to Rome, Milan, Paris, and Buenos Aires with an Airbus A340. But, from the six aircraft of the type ordered, only one is operating its daily Barcelona – Miami – Barcelona route, whereas the second airliner is sitting in storage at Tarbes Airport in France.

Such precariousness comes after the harsh conditions in which airlines are operating in the South American country. In fact, IATA recently announced that it is to leave Venezuela by January 31, 2018, transferring operations to Panama.

Avior Airlines operates flights to 8 destinations in Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and the US, as well as seven domestic routes with a fleet of 27 aircraft: four A340-300, five 737-200, 12 737-400 and six Fokker 50.

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