Turpial Airlines Takes over Coviasa’s Bogota-Caracas Route – Airways Magazine

Dallas – Amid the reopening of flights between Venezuela and Colombia and due to Conviasa’s (V0) inability to operate the Caracas-Bogota route due to US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions, the Colombian Aviation Authority issued Turpial Airlines (T9) approval to operate the link from September 26th.

As a result, T9 will be able to operate within the parameters of the fifth freedom of air, as allowed last week following diplomatic reconciliation between the two neighboring governments. The first of 27 flights scheduled through December 30th.

Despite initial assurances that the Caracas-Bogota operations would be handled by the Venezuelan carrier, the Bogota-based services cannot support the V0 operation without risking penalties and fines from the sanctions imposed on the national carrier by OFAC .

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The Colombian capital is one of Venezuela’s most popular international destinations, followed by Panama and Madrid. According to data from aviationonline.com According to Aerocivil Statistics, 160,237 passengers were transported between Caracas’ Simón Bolívar International Airport (CCS) and El Dorado International Airport (BOG) in 2019.

Three Boeing 737-400s make up T9’s fleet and the city of Valencia’s Arturo Michelena International Airport (VLN) serves as both the operational and administrative hub of the airline.

Turpial Airlines fleet at VLN. Photo: Svva.aviation, CC BY-SA 4.0

The State of International Travel in Venezuela

According to Venezuelan aviation lore, Charles Lindbergh surveyed the location of CCS in 1929. 30 years later, Pan Am operated its flights from New York to Buenos Aires, stopping in Caracas.

Simón Bolívar International Airport became the gateway to South America, and by the late 1970s the country was so rich in oil that “Concorde jets flew in to bring buyers to Paris,” according to a 2016 report Washington Post Report on the decline of Venezuelan aviation.

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Data from Cirium shows that in 2017, the year of T9 certification, there were up to 237 international flights in the country every week. American Airlines (AA), Air France (AF), Aerolíneas Argentinas (AR), Avianca (AV), Caribbean Airlines (BW), Cubana de Aviación (CU), Delta Air Lines (DL), Iberia (IB), TAP Air Portugal (TP) and Wingo (P5) all flew to Venezuela.

In 2019, AA suspended its services from Miami International Airport (MIA) to CCS and Venezuela’s second largest city and oil boom town, Maracaibo (MAR).

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As of June 2022, around 71 international flights per week are operated from Venezuela by seven airlines. These airlines include international carriers Copa Airlines (CM), Turkish Airlines (TK) and Air Europa (UX), as well as Venezuelan Avior Airlines (9V), Estelar (ES), Plus Ultra Líneas Aéreas (PU) and V0.

In the first half of 2022, at least 10 foreign airlines began approaching Venezuela’s National Institute of Civil Aviation (INAC) to explore a possible reintroduction of commercial services, one said El Universal Report.

Among the 10 airlines mentioned in the report, AF, IB, GOL (G3) and AR were interested in resuming commercial flights to Venezuela.

Featured image: Turpial Airlines via Facebook

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