IATA blasts Venezuela for slow progress on repatriation of funds

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Venezuela’s government has been called upon to “urgently” honour its commitment to repatriate $3.9 billion in local revenues owed to international airlines.

IATA says “slow progress” towards delivering on a pledge made in March which looked to have defused the situation “puts at risk a major contributor to the well-being of the well-being of the Venezuelan economy – sustainable air connectivity”.

Director general Tony Tyler warns that members “cannot sustain operations indefinitely if they can’t get paid”.

The association is demanding that funds be handed over at the exchange rates that prevailed when they were generated.

“In most cases this was 6.3 Bolivars to the US dollar,” says IATA. “Throughout the month of April, the Venezuelan government made various offers to release some of the airlines’ funds, but at inferior exchange rates or with arbitrary discounts.

“These actions contradicted prior commitments to enable the airlines to repatriate the full amount they are owed and were rejected by the airlines.”

A total of 24 carrier had money withheld under the government-imposed restrictions on currency exchange, adds IATA. Eleven of the carriers have reduced services to the South American nation.