An ongoing war of words
between the US and Venezuelan Governments has encroached upon civil aviation with
a warning from the South American nation that US rights will be reduced if its FAA
category 2 safety rating is not upgraded.
Under the new guidelines,
from March 1 Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines services into flights
into Caracas will be banned, while American
Airlines will lose up to four of its six daily flights to the capital city,
says a message on Venezuela’s
national institute of civil aviation (INAC) web site.
The initial reaction is
muted, with US DOT and State Department officials following Continental’s lead by
withholding comment. American will only say it is expecting to meet with Venezuelan
officials today, while a “disappointed” Delta says it is working with State and
Transportation officials to resolve the issue.
operates 10 daily flights between the two countries, of which six are nonstops
to Caracas. According ATI’s sister product ACAS, Continental currently
operates two separate nonstops to the Venezuelan capital (a four-weekly service
from Houston hub and a twice weekly
from its New York Newark hub), while Delta operates a daily from Atlanta
A US Government source
says Hugo Chavez’s Government is attempting to change the country’s category 2
safety rating, which for 10 years has restricted Venezuelan carrier operations into
Although this is not
explicitly mentioned in any official comment, an INAC statement notes that the FAA’s
category 2 rating impinges on Venezuela’s
state rights and is counter to an ICAO safety audit of the country’s aviation
system which confirms “that we have the capacity and the conditions required by
the international standards in the matter”.
Chilean carrier Lan and Venezuela’s
Aeropostal and Santa Barbara Airlines also operate services between Caracas