Venezuela's flag carrier Conviasa has announced it will halt its Caracas-Buenos Aires route at least until September in light of the refueling problems all its aircraft face for belonging to a company blacklisted by the US Treasury.
The decision came in the aftermath of the seizing of the Emtrasur Boeing 747-300 at Buenos Aires' Ezeiza airport. Emtrasur is a Conviasa cargo subsidiary and the airplane was previously registered under Iran's Mahan Air, also linked to terrorist activities.
The Venezuelan carrier argued that the cause for the cancellation lay in the refusal to access the necessary services for the execution of our operations at Ezeiza airport.
According to the schedule and following Friday's announcement, 12 flights will be suspended between July 11 and September 20.
Our airline has the obligation to notify the cancellation of scheduled flights for not accessing the ramp services of aeronautical and fuel supply suppliers, Conviasa insisted on its website.
Around 2,000 passengers will be affected by the cancellations. The company is still to announce what will happen to passengers already holding tickets for those services.
Since February 2020, the White House has banned Conviasa from US air space, in addition to further sanctions by the Treasury Department. One of these measures resulted in nobody wanting to refuel Conviasa or Emtrasur aircraft out of fear of retaliation from the United States.
A crew of Venezuelans and Iranians has been banned from leaving Argentina pending inquiries into the actual motives for the alleged cargo operation in the country by the Emtrasur 747.
A Conviasa Airbus A340-600 registration YV-3533 has also landed at Ezeiza at least four times between April and May. Both airplanes used to fly under Mahan Air colors. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro reportedly used that Airbus to travel to Iran in June. That same aircraft is also under investigation in Chile for trips between Caracas and Santiago allegedly carrying several Iranians among its passengers.