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Montevideo, June 22nd 2024 - 02:23 UTC



Passengers stranded in Buenos Aires as Conviasa's “rescue flight” returns to Caracas

Friday, June 17th 2022 - 09:44 UTC
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Conviasa's Airbus flew back to Caracas straight from Bolivia Conviasa's Airbus flew back to Caracas straight from Bolivia

Hundreds of angry passengers were complaining Thursday at Buenos Aires' international Ezeiza airport as the Conviasa flight they were supposed to board to Caracas was not available, after the Airbus 340-600 purchased from Iran's Mahan Air this week landed in Bolivia and flew back to Venezuela.

Following the case of the Boeing 747-300 belonging to Venezuelan cargo airline Emtrasur (a Conviasa subsidiary), the second aircraft bound for Buenos Aires landed in Santa Cruz de la Sierra and would not complete its flight out of fear that it might also be seized by local authorities at the request of the United States, where all Mahan Air and Conviasa units have been blacklisted for their alleged involvement in military intelligence operations.

The A-340-600 was supposed to bring back to Caracas the mixed crew of Iranians and Venezuelans from the 747 before they were banned from leaving Argentina by the judge investigating the case. The magistrate's decision rendered the flight useless in that regard.

Video footage that went viral shows angry passengers at the airport's hall with babies and children demanding answers on how and when they will be traveling.

Conviasa's “non-scheduled” flight performed by the A340-600, registration YV-3535 from Venezuela, which arrived Wednesday at Santa Cruz de la Sierra's Viru Viru airport, was cleared to land by Bolivia's General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics (DGAC). ”The entry of a non-scheduled flight of the air operator Conviasa with aircraft A340-600, registration YV 3535 (Authorization No. 282) on the route Caracas-Viru Viru-Caracas, on yesterday June 15, 2022, whose purpose was passenger transportation, was authorized. The aforementioned aircraft returned to Caracas at 2:20 am today [Thursday],“ according to a statement from the Bolivian agency.

Bolivia's Public Works Minister Édgar Montaño explained that the airline has regular flights every month to Bolivia, but failed to delve into the case of the Emtrasur Boeing 747. ”This airline has regular flights almost every month to Bolivia; it is not the first time it lands [at Viru Viru],“ Montaño argued.

”With BoA [Bolivia's state-run Boliviana de Aviación] we have received some passengers who were bound for Buenos Aires,” he added.

In addition to Mahan Air, Conviasa (Consorcio Venezolano de Industrias Aeronáuticas y Servicios Aéreos) too is blacklisted by the United States. The Boeing 747-300 under Venezuelan registration YV-3531, owned by Emtrasur, a Conviasa subsidiary, was en route to Montevideo when it was denied entry. The Venezuelan government argued it was going to be a “technical supply stopover” in Uruguay to then fly on to Caracas.

“The crew of the aircraft was forced to return immediately to the Ezeiza airport in Argentina, not having the regulatory fuel, putting the lives of the crew at serious risk,” said a protest from Venezuelan authorities who accused Uruguay of irresponsibly endangering the lives of the 747's crew by revoking the landing permit once the aircraft was airborne.

“Venezuela denounces before the international aeronautical community this regrettable action that could have caused a tragedy, human losses and damages for both nations” and has “demanded the authorities of the Uruguayan government to explain this terrible fact.”

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