The governments of Colombia and Venezuela, led by Gustavo Petro and Nicolás Maduro, respectively, have announced the reopening of their borders, allowing the resumption of air travel connectivity after a three-year hiatus due to a diplomatic downfall. Avianca, LATAM, Ultra, Wingo, and Avior, which had several routes between both countries prior to the pandemic, are ready to restart their commercial passenger services as soon as they get the green light.
Open borders again
It took about three years for the borders between Colombia and Venezuela to be fully opened again. On Friday, Venezuela’s government announced the authorization of flights between both countries and the reopening of the air corridor between Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport (BOG) and Caracas Simon Bolivar International (CCS) by the end of this month.
Armando Benedetti, Colombia’s ambassador in Venezuela, said five airlines are looking to resume services between Bogota and Caracas starting on September 26. These carriers are Avianca, LATAM, Ultra, Wingo, and Avior. He added that Venezuela’s carrier Laser Airlines is still in the process of being approved to operate this route. Wingo, Copa Holdings’ subsidiary, has also been authorized to perform a service between Bogota and Valencia.
The diplomatic relationship between both countries went awry when former Colombian president Iván Duque recognized Juan Guaidó as an alternative president of Venezuela instead of Nicolás Maduro. Following the incident, Maduro expelled all Colombian diplomatic members and closed the borders between both countries.
Flights between Colombia and Venezuela will be resumed in September. Photo: Getty Images.
International connectivity to Venezuela
In the last few years, Venezuela has lost international air connectivity. For instance, the country had about 348 international flights and 51,328 seats available in September 2015 versus 106 weekly flights and 17,288 seats in September 2022, using data by Cirium.
Venezuela currently has international services from 12 airlines; Copa Airlines operates the largest number of services, with 33 flights per week from Tocumen International Airport (PTY). Other operators are Conviasa, Laser, Avior, Turpial, Turkish Airlines, Air Europa, and TAP Portugal. Seven years ago, the country had connectivity from other airlines such as American Airlines, Air France, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Delta, GOL, Iberia, LATAM, and Avianca. A few of these operators are interested in resuming their services to the South American country.
The Venezuelan government currently allows international flights from 15 countries worldwide. This list includes Turkey, Russia, Mexico, Bolivia, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Iran, Brazil, Algeria, Qatar, and Colombia.
Several airlines have stated their interest in resuming commercial flights to Venezuela. Photo: Getty Images.
Avianca, Wingo and LATAM ready to go
In recent months, both Avianca and LATAM have stated their interest in resuming commercial services between Colombia and Venezuela. As reported by local media outlet Aviacionline, Avianca’s team “is ready to reconnect these two sibling countries.” The airline is currently awaiting the Venezuelan authorities to authorize its technical team to visit the country and begin selling the flight. It is expected Avianca could resume the routes to Venezuela within the next two to three months.
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Source: El País, Aviacionline.