Venezuela's domestic airline industry suffers amid economic crisis
Venezuela’s domestic airline industry is struggling to maintain operations due to hyperinflation and shortages of spare parts, according to an industry association, making it increasingly hard to obtain tickets and causing chronic flight delays, Reuters reported.
The domestic air fleet has shrunk 80 percent since 2014 to around 20 functioning aircraft, the Venezuelan air industry association Ceveta says, leaving Venezuelans struggling to travel to visit relatives or receive medical treatment.
That comes atop a steady withdrawal since 2016 of international airlines, many of which left Venezuela after years investing in what was once one of Latin America’s richest countries.
Eight local airlines continue flying, the most active of which are Laser, Avior and state-run Conviasa, Ceveta President Jorge Alvarez told Reuters on June 26.
He added that airlines have cut services because they cannot obtain dollars through the country’s currency control system.
“We don’t have replacement parts because the government is not able to provide the hard currency we need,” said Alvarez, a former airline executive.
“If I don’t have dollars, I can’t offer better service.”
Avior and Laser did not respond to requests for comment. Reuters was unable to obtain comment from Conviasa.
The Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
Ticket prices are fixed by the government in the local bolivar currency while replacement parts must be purchased abroad in dollars. With the bolivar depreciating rapidly, airlines are left unable to afford the parts needed to keep up maintenance, Alvarez said.