Venezuela's CAA (INAC) has confirmed the FAA has
requested a visit to Caracas
on 17 April to plan a reassessment audit of the country's current category 2
move could help resolve the escalating spat between the two, which has seen
INAC impose a 31 March deadline for blocking most US carriers from the lucrative
Venezuela has been
category 2 safety rated under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety
Assessment (IASA) programme since 1996. But in
February INAC invoked the Chicago Convention on "equal opportunities"
and citing a positive ICAO safety audit performed in 2004, announced it would
apply "the same conditions to US carriers as the US is applying
to Venezuelan carriers as per 28 February". The deadline was later extended
to 31 March.
meant that Delta, Continental and most express cargo carriers would be prevented
from operating to Venezuela.
Only American Airlines would have been allowed to continue operating at its
1995 capacity, which is when the US froze the capacity of Venezuelan
carriers after classifying its safety policies as non-compliant with ICAO
INAC spokesman says: "The last ICAO audit demonstrates that our safety
oversight is up to their standards and actually they have acted as mediators
with the FAA to obtain our reclassification. On the basis of reciprocity, as recognised by the Chicago Convention, we decided to
withdraw traffic rights for US
carriers because the FAA did not respond to our requests for a fast
the US carriers with which we had several very productive meetings and for
which Venezuela is an important market, have accepted our position and started
to explain to the FAA the need to act fast."
INAC move received full support from Venezuelan airlines and Nelson Ramiz, president of the country's largest carrier, Aeropostal, underlines emphatically the need to maintain a
tough stand: "Since the US imposed operating restrictions to Venezuelan
carriers in 1995, our market share on the route has fallen from 49% to 10%.
have been benefiting enormously from the situation which the FAA is trying to
maintain unilaterally despite an ICAO audit which nearly two years ago
certified that Venezuela's
safety standards are up to their requirements. The 31 March deadline must be
maintained to send out a strong signal to get this situation resolved.”