Venezuela's Conviasa adds first two E-190s

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Venezuela's state-owned airline Conviasa has received the first two Embraer 190s from an order of up to 20 aircraft announced in July.

A delegation headed by Venezuela's transport Elsa Gutierrez has taken delivery of the two aircraft, says the airline. Gutierrez says the fleet renewal of Conviasa demonstrates a "win-win friendship" between South American countries. Brazil's development bank BNDES is financing the aircraft purchase as oil-rich Venezuela lacks the ability to attract dollar denominated loans in international financial markets, a reality that has forced Conviasa's private competitors to operate ageing second generation jets.

The two aircraft are part of a firm order for six aircraft announced last June, which also includes fourteen options.

The arrival of the aircraft, only days before the presidential elections in Venezuela, will improve Conviasa's operational capability. The airline has had a series of accidents and maintenance issues, which led to internal questioning of the national carrier's top management, which has changed several times since its launch in 2004. As a result, Conviasa was blacklisted by the European Union, forcing it to operate its flight to Madrid with wet-leased aircraft instead of its own Airbus A340.

Conviasa operates scheduled flights to 14 domestic and six international destinations.