Venezuela postpones US carrier embargo

Washington DC
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Venezuela’s 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.