Venezuelan airline Venezolana, also known as RAVSA, has stopped all operations, a situation its chief executive William Posada blames on a lack of access to foreign currency to acquire spare parts and insurance policies.
A source at the Transport Ministry in Caracas confirms the status of the Maracaibo based airlines. "We ordered the suspension Venezolana's flights after they failed to renew their insurance policy," the source says.
In a similar incident in early 2012, Venezolana also suffered a brief grounding by the Venezuelan aviation authorities although on that occasion the airline was cleared quickly to resume flights after completing the required documentation.
Posada, however, puts the blame on the government, saying it is the difficulties in accessing foreign currency from Cadivi, the Venezuelan monetary authority, which has prevented the airline from continuing operations.
Recently the airline had only one aircraft from its fleet of five Boeing 737-200s and two MD-80s in operational condition. Other private local airlines are also keeping big parts of their fleets of ageing aircraft on the ground to cannibalise the aircraft for spare parts, which they cannot acquire because of the lack of access to foreign currency in the oil-rich country.
Earlier this month Spanish Skyteam carrier Air Europa stopped selling tickets in Venezuela because the government is also preventing foreign airlines from repatriating income obtained in local currency.