Venezuela bans Copa Airlines, triggers major disruption

Saturday, April 7, 2018


Copa AirlinesVenezuela is temporarily suspending economic ties with Panamanian Copa Airlines as it had suspended its operations in the country for 90 days.


The announcement is a clear reaction after Panama had declared Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and 50 other Venezuelan nationals as ‘high-risk’ profiles for the crimes of financing terrorism and money laundering.


The measure undertaken by Maduro’s Administration includes a reciprocal banning of Panamanian individuals and companies, thereby impacting state-owned Copa Airlines, a key player in the Central and South American commercial aviation scenario.


The civil aviation authority of Venezuela mentioned in a statement that inbound and outbound Copa flights were suspended for 90 days that would be effective from Friday as a ‘measure to protect the Venezuelan financial system’.


Copa released a statement describing the situation and offers many options for passengers with Caracas as an origin or destination to request for a ticket refund or to alter the trip without any charges.


The suspension comes in a context of raising isolation of commercial aviation operations, several companies have stopped flying to Venezuela in the last three years as international funds exchange is extremely restricted.


Also, Venezuela aviation companies have struggled to continue operations and many have filed for bankruptcy.


Conviasa that would be considered Venezuela flag carrier after the failure of Viasa have ceased to operate its international destinations last year on account of financial impossibility to afford the necessary insurances.


Wamos Air, a European wet-leasing brand that offers a Boeing 747-200 for Conviasa to operate the Caracas to Madrid route, cancelled the contract after months of unpaid services.


In 2017, many U.S. carriers had stopped operations to Caracas with United being the last to cut services.


American Airlines never ceased to fly to Venezuela and is ready to renovate its frequencies from December 2018 to reach 17 weekly flights, but then it is still far from the 50 weekly flights it used to operate in the past.


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