Government has postponed its planned embargo on US
carrier access to the South American country by a month to allow for continued negotiations
to resolve a dispute stemming from a FAA safety downgrade from 1996.
The reduction in access
rights was revealed on February 24 by Venezuela’s
national institute of civil aviation (INAC). Under the plan, from March 1 all Continental
Airlines and Delta Air Lines flights between the USA
and Caracas would be banned while
almost 70% of American Airlines’ service would be prohibited.
This deadline has now
been extended to March 30.
INAC said its decision is
“developed under the principles of equality of opportunities [and] reciprocity
and opportunities that must exist between both nations” and the adverse affect
the FAA category 2 safety rating has on Venezuelan carrier access to the USA.
The postponement “will
allow communication channels to be established between the competent
authorities in order to guarantee equal opportunities in air operations for
both Venezuelan and North American airlines,” adds the aviation authority.
INAC decided to delay the
ban after a February 25 meeting with American, Continental and Delta as well as
cargo operators Amerijet, Arrow Cargo, Atlas Air, Centurion
Air Cargo, Florida West International Airways, Gemini Air Cargo, Tradewinds Airlines and UPS in Caracas.
In a statement, INAC says
the carriers indicated they will present Venezuela’s
argument to US authorities, bit regarded the week
notice as unworkable.
To date, no official meeting
between the two governments has been scheduled. A US State Department representative
will not comment on the matter.