The majority of TP fleet is manufactured by Airbus. Airbus_A330-200

MIAMI –  The Government of Venezuela decided today to suspend TAP Air Portugal (TP) operations in the country for 90 days for non-compliance and irregularities in its “international procedures”. The suspension halts 44 years of uninterrupted service between Portugal and Venezuela.

News of the suspension was first released by the Minister for Transportation, Hipólito Abreu, on his Twitter account.

“Due to the serious irregularities committed on flight TP173 and in compliance with the national civil aviation regulations, the operations of the TAP airline in our territory are suspended for 90 days, as a precautionary measure in order to protect Venezuela’s operational safety,” the Minister wrote on the social network.

The decision was also ratified by the Vice President of the Republic, Delcy Rodríguez, in the same social network.

“TAP airline has been suspended for ninety days due to serious violations of the regulations of the Venezuelan Civil Aeronautics, without prejudice to the fines and administrative procedures that may take place. Venezuela must be respected! ” added the Vice President in another message.

Photo: Clément Alloing

Traveling and politics

Due to heightened concerns about the safeguard of their crews during layovers during the protests in 2017, TP wet-leased the services of EuroAtlantic, a Lisbon-based charter carrier. The carrier served the Lisbon-Caracas route two times per week with Boeing 767-300(ER)s.

Last week, Minister Abreu denounced that on flight TP173, which left Lisbon for the Simón Bolívar International Airport (CCS), in Maquetía, La Guaira, Juan Guaidó – recognized as president in charge of the oil country by 50 governments – traveled under the false name of “Antonio Márquez”.

An uncle of Guaidó, Juan Márquez, was arrested last Tuesday for allegedly carrying explosive materials hidden in various objects, after accompanying parliamentary chief Guaidó on the mentioned flight when returning from an international tour.

Today’s suspension leaves Caracas with Copa as the sole Star Alliance member serving the city.

Alas, the connectivity to Europe is now reduced to three cities only: Paris (Air France), Madrid (Iberia, Air Europa, and Plus Ultra), and Istanbul (Turkish Airlines).

Article written by Helwing Villamizar