Thursday, May 1, 2014

Venezuela: Eleven of 24 Airlines Face Extortion by Maduro Government, If They Leave They Lose Everything

According to The Latin American Tribune,  Venezuela's rogue, cash-strapped Socialist failed experiment under the leadership of President Nicolás Maduro, should allow “the repatriation of $3.9 billion of airline funds at fair exchange rates,” the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday (April 29).

The Venezuelan government’s decision to retain funds from the sale of airline tickets is “in contravention of international treaties,” IATA emphasized.

President Nicolás Maduro said last month that any airline deciding to cease air service to Venezuela wound not be allowed to return as long as he serves as President.

COMMENT: Knowing how dysfunctional and arbitrary the government is, most of the carriers never should have trusted Maduro's word.

Such an interesting threat for a democratically elected head of state.

In March 2014, the Venezuelan government promised airlines that it would release their money for repatriation at fair exchange rates. Since then, there has been very little progress,” IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler said.

IATA said it was seeking “the immediate release of the blocked funds for repatriation at the exchange rates in place at the time the funds were generated. In most cases this was 6.3 bolivars to the US dollar.”

The Venezuelan government, according to the airlines, has made several offers this month to release some of the funds, “but at inferior exchange rates or with arbitrary discounts,” the IATA said.

Airport charges were increased by 70% in December 2013 without any “consultation or improvement in services provided,” the IATA said.

Eleven of the 24 companies operating in Venezuela have reduced their operations between 15% and 78%, “while only one has stopped flying to the country altogether,” the IATA said, referring to Air Canada.