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Venezuela’s Conviasa Sets Plan to Reach China, Iran, Russia
Sunday, Feb. 7 marked a year since the United States banned Conviasa from entering the United States.
On that occasion, the United States Department of the Treasury informed the airline that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) included 40 Conviasa airplanes on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN). This list includes companies, organizations, and individuals that have been identified as a threat to the national security and foreign and economic policy of the United States.
To “celebrate” the anniversary, the Venezuelan flag carrier published a statement on social networks regarding this situation and assured that, “facing the sanction and the blockade, Conviasa presented significant advances that allowed the growth of air transport.” The Vice Minister for Air Transportation of the Ministry of Popular Power for Transportation (MPPT) and President of Conviasa, Ramón Velásquez Araguayán, reviewed the airline’s achievements and projections for 2021.
In 2020, the company carried out a total of 4,434 flights including humanitarian, commercial and cargo services, and expanded its fleet, bringing the operational level to 85%, a mark achieved “thanks to the patriotism of the engineering, technical, pilot, crew and worker responsible aeronautics,” Conviasa reported.
From Feb. 26, the airline will begin to fly between Maracaibo and Panama, with two weekly frequencies on Fridays and Sundays.
Conviasa reported that its priority continues to be expanding to Russia, Iran and China once the restrictions due to Covid-19 are lifted, which will encourage tourism to Venezuela. The project for this year is to install a direct flight between Caracas and Moscow and by March to begin commercial operations to Tehran.
“There is a significant potential for passengers who want to know the tourist activity in Venezuela,” said Velásquez, who added, “We are planning to reach China with cargo and passenger flights.”
As of Tuesday, the airline has international flights from Caracas to Santo Domingo, Cancun and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, as well as national routes between Caracas and Porlamar and Canaima as well as between Porlamar and Maracaibo.
Conviasa projects a fleet of more than 80 aircraft and claims to be working on expanding to reach that size – although exact deadlines on when the airline is going to reach that number have not yet been given. The airline’s current fleet consists of one Airbus A340-200, one Airbus A340-300, 16 Embraer E190s and eight Cessna 208 Caravans for regional operations. These ambitious plans for the airline would involve the incorporation of 600 pilots, the company assured.
Vice Minister Velásquez reported that, after having seen the importance of the air cargo service in 2020 with one million three hundred thousand kilos transported, Conviasa will reinforce cargo services with Aerocargo del Sur (EMTRASUR), a company created with the purpose of mobilizing national and international cargo, having as the initial axis to establish an air bridge with China, Russia and Iran. EMTRASUR will operate from the Libertador Air Base, in Maracay.
The official also referred to the start-up of the National Aeronautical Company and the creation of the National Aeronautical Maintenance Center, which will operate in Maracay, to offer greater aeronautical maintenance service to wide-body aircraft in the region.
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