Aviation Industry

Venezuela"™s Biggest Airport Is in Free Fall


In 1976, you could fly from Caracas, Venezuela, to Paris in six hours, crossing the Atlantic Ocean aboard Air France"™s Concorde. Only France, Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States were also regularly served by the futuristic supersonic aircraft. At the time, Venezuela"™s oil-fueled economy was the richest in South America, and for air travelers, it was the continent"™s best-connected state.

In the decades since, Maiquetía International Airport (renamed Simón Bolí­var International in 1972, but still widely known by its former name) boomed with taxiing 747s on intercontinental routes to Dublin, London, Amsterdam, and Zurich. Caracas also boasted several connections to major American hubs, such as Miami, New York, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Atlanta, operated by both Venezuelan carriers and American, Delta, United, Braniff, and Pan-Am.

Today, that scene has changed dramatically. Since 2014, when Venezuela descended into a political and economic crisis, 15 airlines have ceased operations to and from Caracas, leaving the city"“"“and the country"“"“in a deepening state of aviation isolation. Maiquetía"™s terminal frequently goes without air conditioning, power, or running water; fears of crime in the city and in the airport itself have caused some remaining carriers to send flight crews to other cities rather than having them stay overnight in Caracas.

The fall of Maiquetía started when Air Canada canceled its route from Toronto in March 2014, followed by Alitalia"™s withdrawal of its Rome-Caracas operation in April 2015. Eleven more carriers followed, including Delta, United, Lufthansa, Aeromexico, Aerolíneas Argentinas, GOL, Avianca, and LATAM, leaving the Venezuelan capital with no direct services to Dallas, Atlanta, New York, Houston, San Juan, Fort Lauderdale, Frankfurt, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Lima, Bogotá, São Paulo, and Santiago.

Currently, the only U.S. carrier operating to and from Venezuela is American Airlines, with a single daily flight to Miami from both Caracas and Maracaibo, Venezuela"™s second largest city. Two years ago, there were more than 40 flights per week between the Venezuelan capital and Miami…

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Fuente: https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/06/venezuela-biggest-airport-is-in-free-fall/561875/

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