IATA asks Panama and Venezuela to restore air connectivity

Photo: Courtesy @tocumenaero.
Editorial Dept. Voz de la Diaspora

The International Air Transport Association (IATA for its acronym in English) asked the aviation authorities of Panama and Venezuela to "urgently" reestablish flights between the two countries suspended since 13 December with a direct impact on the transit of people, and medicines at a crucial time in the pandemic.

“This interruption could not have come at a worse time ", said the IATA Regional Vice President for the Americas, Peter Cerdá.

Venezuela had “very limited” international air connectivity since before the COVID-19 pandemic, hence the flights to and from Panama restarted in recent weeks, "They became a lifesaver", said IATA.

He added that cutting that link before the holiday travel season, and at a time when the demand for pharmaceuticals needed to fight the pandemic is at its peak, "Will have dire consequences".

"Essential cargo will not be able to be transported or will be massively delayed”, affirmed the organism that hosts 290 airlines representing around the 82% of global air transport.

The Panamanian Copa Airlines announced that it would cancel flights to Caracas, following a disposition of the Venezuelan authorities to cancel all the airline's flights on its Panama-Caracas / Caracas-Panama route as of 13 from December.

One day later, the Civil Aviation Authority of Panama (AAC) said in a statement that it was forced to cancel flights to Venezuelan airlines in response to the decision of the Venezuelan authorities, which will remain in force until they achieve equal and reciprocal treatment in the frequency of flights.

The AAC reported that Panama has granted up to 9 flights per week to Venezuelan airlines, while Venezuela only allowed three flights to the Panamanian airline claiming restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: Courtesy @tocumenaero.