CARACAS, Venezuela–After announcing this week the devaluation of its currency (the Bolivar), the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is practically isolated. The Venezuelan travel agencies have stopped selling airline tickets after some international carriers like Air Europa, Iberia, Air France, Lufthansa, TAP-Portugal, TAME, COPA, United and American Airlines also decided to suspend ticket sales. The Venezuelan Government has a debt of up to 2800 million Euros with all the international airlines operating to the socialist country. This week governement officials met with Air Europa executives, hoping to find a solution in order to pay the debt with the airline, up to 130 million Euros, but it seems both parts couldn’t reach an agreement. The economist Francisco Faraco has defined the situation as “The Bankruptcy of the Venezuelan State”. Its believed that more airlines will suspend sales and most probably operations to Venezuelan airports in the near future.
QUITO, Ecuador–TAME’s General Manager Fernando Guerrero informed on January 23rd the Ecuadorian flag carrier suspended temporarily its scheduled flights from Quito to Caracas. The reason for the suspension of services comes as a result of the problems the airlines are having in Venezuela, securing their sales earnings to be transferred by the Central Bank of Venezuela’s CADIVI Department (Comision de Administracion de Divisas) the government’s control center of foreign currency. Since April 2013 the CADIVI has not transferred the funds to TAME, an amount of $43,174,603. Fernando Guerrero also informed as soon CADIVI transfers the funds, TAME will reinstate the flights to Caracas.
ORANJESTAAD, Aruba–The Aruban airline, Tiara Air recently filed for an automatic stay which will prevent creditors and collectors from trying to collect debts from the ailing air company. Tiara Air N.V., operating as Tiara Air Aruba, is an airline headquartered and based on the grounds of Aruba, in the Dutch Caribbean, which began operations in 2006. The airline currently operates scheduled flights to Bonaire, Colombia, Curacao, Fort Lauderdale and Caracas, Maracaibo and Punto Fijo in Venezuela. The airline operates a fleet consisting of the Shorts 360 and one Boeing 737-300 aircraft for passenger operations, with a Learjet 35 for ambulance and private operations. The airline has been camping with financial trouble for a while now. The government headed by Prime Minister Mike Eman has recently approved a bridge loan from a special emergency fund to keep the airline operating while waiting for the Venezuelan Commission for the Administration of Currency Exchange (CADIVI). CADIVI is one of the main causes of financial problems for various airlines in the Caribbean region, including the Curacao airline Insel Air. According to CADIVI reports, Venezuela owes Tiara Air about 40 million dollars.The automatic stay will give the company the required space to adjust its operations and to reduce its flights to Venezuela. The airline announced that it will increase its operations to Curacao, Bonaire and Colombia. The airline had expansion plans into Panama and Costa Rica, but at the moment new routes are not considered. The Netherlands Antilles have lost several national airlines: ALM Antillean Airlines (Antilliaanse Luchtvaart Maatschappij) that ceased operations in 2001, Air Aruba that ceased operations in 2000 and Dutch Antilles Express ceased in 2013.