Venezuela’s Chavez bars Delta & Continental flights

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will bar Continental and Delta from flying to Caracas until Venezuelan carriers are allowed to expand service to the United States. Venezuela is blocked from expanding its U.S. service by a 1995 U.S. Federal Aviation Administration decision that downgraded the country’s security, safety and technical rating.

Venezuela’s Francisco Paz Fleites, head of the country’s civil aviation institute argues in a television interview: “There is a new aviation law and international aviation institute, our radar has improved, as has our control over our planes, pilots and maintenance.”

Also affected is American Airlines, the U.S. carrier with the most service to Venezuela. American’s service will be cut by 70 percent, according to Francisco Paz Fleites, head of the country’s civil aviation institute.

The new restrictions will go into effect on March 1 and apply to both passenger and cargo flights. Combined, the three U.S. airlines have a daily capacity of approximately 3,000 seats on their U.S.-Venezuela routes, company officials said.


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