Bogota

Maduro Warns Airlines not to cut Flights

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CARACAS, Venezuela–President Nicolas Maduro warned airlines not to limit flights in and out of Venezuela, days after Avianca reported was reducing flights to Caracas amid industry complaints of billions of dollars in unpaid debts. “Airlines have no excuse to reduce their flights to Venezuela”, Maduro said during a press conference. “If airlines reduce flights, I will take severe measures.” Airlines have struggled to obtain dollars in exchange for the Bolivar currency as a result of long-running delays in Venezuela’s 11-year-old currency control system. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) this week said that airlines are owed USD $3.7 billion and that some are considering halting service to Venezuela. “If an airline leaves the country, it’s not coming back while we are in government”, Maduro said, casting the airlines’ complaints as part of a wider economic war against his socialist government by political foes and businesses. Maduro also said, however, that his government would pay debts to the airline industry. Avianca Holdings, operator of Colombia’s biggest airline, on Thursday told travel agents it will cut flights between the countries’ capitals to one day from three as of March 20th. Avianca will suspend flights between Caracas and San Jose, Costa Rica, as part of an effort “to match supply to market needs” and reduce the number of seats available between Caracas and Lima. The company’s Chief Executive said that currency controls hade made it difficul to bring revenue worrth about USD$300 million out of Venezuela. German airline Lufthansa said this month its 2013 financial results took a double-digit million euro hit from payment issues in Venezuela. Maduro said that various airlines around the world were ready to step in and cover any unfilled routes. “They’re asking permission to cover flights to Colombia, Panama, Central and South America”, he said without giving more details. Venezuelan state-run air carrier CONVIASA is expected to take over several routes like the Caracas-San Jose run.

Venezuelan president warns airlines not to cut flights.
Venezuelan president warns airlines not to cut flights.

Avianca To Central America

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The Honduras Tourism is hoping Avianca would start non-stop flights from Bogota El Dorado to San Pedro-Sula and Roatan Island.
The Honduras Tourism is hoping Avianca would start non-stop flights from Bogota El Dorado to San Pedro-Sula and Roatan Island.

SAN PEDRO SULA,Honduras–Several hotel executives, Honduran¬†incoming tour operators and the Minister of Tourism¬† are currently¬†organizing a meeting with Avianca’s upper management in Bogota for the first months of 2014. The group is hoping that Avianca will keep opening non-stop flights from the Bogota Hub into San Pedro-Sula and Coxen Hole in Roatan using Airbus A-318 jetliners. Avianca already operates non-stop flights from Bogota El Dorado International Airport to Panama City, San Jose, San Salvador and Guatemala City.

The Ecuadorian Expansion

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QUITO, Ecuador. — The Ecuadorian flag carrier TAME (Transportes Aereos Militares del Ecuador) is expanding it’s route strudure within South America. The airline now operates flights from Quito and Guayaquil to Bogota, Caracas, Panama and Sao Paulo. Rafael Farias, TAME’s General Manager has informed the airline has plans to start flight operations to Mexico City, San Jose and to New York-JFK with an Airbus A-330 wide body aircraft. After AeroGal (Aerolineas Galapagos) suspended services to the U.S., the Ecuadorian government has been trying to restore the air links between Quito and Guayaquil with New York and Miami.

TAME's Airbus A-320 at Quito International Airport.
TAME’s Airbus A-320 at Quito International Airport.