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Wamos Air Suspends Its Relationship With Conviasa Citing Political Reasons

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Wamos Air Suspends Its Relationship With Conviasa Citing Political Reasons

Wamos Air Suspends Its Relationship With Conviasa Citing Political Reasons
May 05
13:26 2017

MIAMI — Madrid-based Wamos Air has unilaterally suspended its operations for the Venezuelan carrier Conviasa due to political reasons, and has relocated its ground staff to the Dominican Republic until the situation in Venezuela is solved. The information was confirmed by an internal source.

Airways also received exclusive notice that Conviasa has suspended all its domestic and international flights, effective immediately, due to certain “administrative concerns” with its insurance company. Internal sources claim that the airline has ran out of US Dollars to pay the insurance policy that has expired.

Wamos Air, the Spanish leisure airline that operates a few scheduled destinations and also wet-leases its fleet of aircraft to airlines around the globe, signed a two-year wet-leasing agreement with Conviasa to operate a single Boeing 747-400 to cover the Venezuelan carrier’s long-haul routes from Caracas, Venezuela to Madrid in Spain and Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Established in 2004, Conviasa was conceived to fill the gap left by former flag carrier Viasa, which ceased operations in 1997 after massive losses.

Conviasa served international destinations to mid-east countries such as Syria and Iran with no success with its own Airbus A340-200, which is today stored at the airline’s base in Caracas.

Back in 2007, the European Union banned the Venezuelan airline to operate its A340-200 to Madrid, after failing security audits. To counteract this measure, the carrier has wet-leased equipment from a myriad of airlines, including Air Madrid, Air Pullmantur, Air Plus Comet and Air AsiaX, to name a few, in order to serve these destinations.

 

Conviasa Woes Worsen as Venezuela Crisis Deepens

Venezuela is currently facing one of the harshest periods of political and economic instability due to anti-democratic actions taken by its Government. The leftist regime led by President Nicolas Maduro has faced upscaling social protests promoted by factors opposed to it, which allege that Maduro’s government is attempting to impose a communist regime putting at risk the liberty of the entire country.

The OAS, EU, The U.S. State Department and Congress, are just some of the international organizations that are urging Venezuela to hold general elections and release political prisoners to calm down the increasing protests, which started on April 3. By now there are over 36 people who have been killed by the Venezuelan National Police and National Guards, 717 injured, and thousands imprisoned.

Since 2013, air travel in Venezuela has also been in the spotlight. Almost 15 international airlines left Venezuela, hundreds of pilots searched new opportunities abroad, and over US$4 billion remain in debt from the National Government to the industry.

Several international carriers, including Air Canada, Alitalia, Lufthansa, LATAM, GOL, Insel Air, and others are just a few of the carriers that ceased flights to Venezuela. Others, such as American Airlines and Delta, have decreased their operations to assure a minimal connectivity and decrease exposure to potential risks.

Last month, United Airlines opted to change its direct Houston – Caracas route with a stop in Aruba, allowing its crew to overnight in the Caribbean island instead of Caracas. Likewise, Aerolineas Argentinas took extra measures to keep their crew safe during their layovers in the Venezuelan capital.

The current situation of air travel in Venezuela is touching bottom. The lack of international connections due to the default in the payment to international carriers, along with the operational disruptions Conviasa is experiencing, is leaving Venezuelans with few but expensive travel options.

The measure taken by Wamos Air is forcing Conviasa to operate its Caracas-Buenos Aires route with Embraer E-190 aircraft. According to a Conviasa Pilot who wishes to remain anonymous, these flights have been done numerous times in the past and the lengthy route requires the airline to plan from two to three stops for re-fueling.

The Madrid-bound flight will remain canceled until Conviasa can find a spare aircraft to fly the route and pick-up stranded passengers. But internal sources claim that Conviasa does not have enough funds to lease another aircraft as well.

Overall, Venezuelan passengers are suffering the dramatic economic, social and political woes that hit the country on a daily basis, and things are about to get worse as days go by.

Wamos Air’s operation in Venezuela has been steady and successful. Last year, Airways Editor in Chief Enrique Perrella traveled from Madrid to Caracas to document this operation, which was featured in the video below:

 

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Alvaro Sanchez

Alvaro Sanchez

Online Executive Editor. Journalist and Certified Radio Host. Studying for a Specialization in Public Opinion and Political Communications. Even though I love politics I've found myself fascinated by the Aviation World. I'm also passionate by economy, strategic communications, my family, my country, and dogs. mc@airwaysmag.com

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