27 July, 2017

Avianca Ends Flights to Venezuela

Colombian airline Avianca confirmed today (Thursday) that it will stop flying to and from Venezuela as of today due to the complicated and dangerous situation in the neighboring country.

The airline had initially planned to suspend flights during the middle of August, however  "Due to operational and security limitations in recent hours, Avianca has been forced to suspend its operations from Thursday, and not from 16th Aug as previously scheduled," the airline rushed to say in a statement today.

Avianca had announced Wednesday that due to operational difficulties it would suspend flights between Bogota and Caracas and between Lima and the Venezuelan capital from mid-August, bringing an end to more than 60 years of operations in that country.

But the worsening of the crisis in Venezuela, an oil-rich but bitterly divided country that is in a deep economic recession and has been roiled recently by violent anti-government protests caused a rethink on the date. 

Avianca's withdrawal will have a major impact on Venezuela's air connectivity as Avianca has a 59 percent share of the Bogota-Caracas-Bogota route and a 77 percent share of the Lima-Caracas-Lima route.  It cited the need for Venezuelan authorities to align various processes with international standards, improve airport infrastructure and guarantee the consistency of operations - all of which are a long way from even becoming a possibility. 

Avianca are not alone, many other airlines, including Aeromexico, Lufthansa and United Airlines, had already suspended operations.