Venezuela’s Conviasa Planes Forbidden From Flying To Europe

December 6, 2012


A few years ago, when Chavez announced that he would start a national airline again, I wrote a post criticizing the move as another waste of money in a country with limited resources and a lot of more important problems than having a flagship Government airline. My reasons were many, but it included the fact that the airline business is well known to be a very difficult one, as recurrently even the best run airlines in the world go bankrupt or close to it, when conditions are adverse. Add to that the history of Venezuelan airlines, both private and Government run, together with a bunch of inefficient military officers in charge and I could see this was a boondoggle Venezuela did not need. Many of the more pro-Chavez readers jumped on me, saying the country should have an airline and flying in it was more reasonably priced than private airlines.

But in time, Conviasa has shown to be an even bigger failure than I ever dreamed of. I never thought we would see so many accidents. Seven serious accidents in such a short life is unheard of in the world of airlines, no matter where they come from. This shows how this Government is so indifferent to the value of the life of its citizens. Then there is the fact that Conviasa bought a bunch of Brazilian Embraer planes for US$ 90 million, which somehow the Chinese buy for half as much according to Gustavo in the same link as above.  And to top it all off, last April Venezuela was put on the no fly list by the European Community, a ban that was reiterated this week.

But rather than find out about how to get off the list, the Government blasts the European Union and criticizes more the fact that the ban is called a “black list” and thus racist, than the actual reasons for the ban. Even worse, in this Bolivarian revolution world, where profits don’t matter, Conviasa has been using airplanes from Santa Barbara Airlines (A Venezuelan private commercial airline) and ¡Fin de mundo! a US airline called Vision Airlines, in order to continue flying to countries in the European Union. If Conviasa was losing money before, imagine doing it having to pay someone else to do the job!

Economics is about optimizing scarce resources. In a relatively poor country like Venezuela, that optimization is even more important. The worst part, is that Conviasa is still flying, money is still being wasted, without any rationale for it. At least other Chavez boondoggles like Venirauto, stopped being much of a sinkhole. While supposedly the company is still functioning, here is a picture of some vehicles waiting to have the natural gas system installed before the cars are sold:


Not pretty, no? At least nobody died…

18 Responses to “Venezuela’s Conviasa Planes Forbidden From Flying To Europe”

  1. Says:

    No to tne contrary, tha k you. I will look for the mail to rese d. I may have se t it from ho’me so it will take a few hours maybe.

    Sent from my Nokia phone

  2. Bill S. Says:

    Reuters has reported that his security people have left Brazil, so he probably won’t show up. He has been uncharacteristically silent lately.

  3. NorskeDiv Says:

    Anyone else having fun pestering PSF colleagues that Mercosur must just really not matter, otherwise why isn’t the oh-so-healthy healthy Hugo Chavez showing up?

  4. moctavio Says:

    Best day in the bond market for Venezuela and PDVSA in months.

  5. Deanna Says:

    I haven’t flown a Venezuelan airline from NY to Caracas since I promised not to ever go on VIASA (meeny, meeny years ago) because of bad service. I was traveling with my eldest son (who was a baby at that time) and I asked the stewardess to please warm the baby’s bottle, and she just ignored me because she was too busy flirting with a uniformed military guy (Venezuelan, of course). After sending VIASA a scathing letter, I swore to never again travel to Venezuela on any Venezuelan airlines. Bad service, bad maintenance, insecure flying!!!!

    • firepigette Says:

      hahaha!! Sounds so familiar to me Deanna..i had that exact same experiences on quite a few occasions….

    • Ronaldo Says:

      I also refuse to fly Viasa anymore. The plane that I flew from Miami to Caracas looked, felt and, sounded like it was well past its airframe life. The overhead doors would pop open in flight, the seat cushions were loose, the windows too scratched to see out, the engines seemed to be running rough. The flight attendants were nice but they too appeared anxious on takeoffs and landings. My Spanish listening skills have never been great but I am sure one of the attendants said that “Jacqueline Kennedy flew on this airplane”. That could have been thirty years before I flew on it.

    • Amadeo Says:

      Dear Diana, I fully sympathize with your complaint. However, Viasa flew 36 years without a single fatality. venezuelan pilots are amongst the best and many are flying wide-bodied aircraft for Asian and European airlines today. Your experience cannot mean the condemnation of an airline. It could have happened on any country’s airline.

  6. Juan Ignacio Sosa Says:

    This is a symptom of the main reason why I don’t fly on Venezuelan airlines: horribly incompetent aviation safety systems and institutions.

    I studied aerospace engineering in school and thought I understood how complicated it was to keep an airliner flying safely. However, I then because a consultant for one of the main companies dealing with airline maintenance systems (MRO). This taught me that the most crucial part in safe airline travel has nothing to do with how good the mechanics and pilots are, or when the airplanes were built. You have to have very robust, professional and empowered institutions that oversee the airlines.

    Europe and the USA have them (EASA and FAA), as do other countries. However, even those institutions have dropped the ball and gotten complacent with the airlines they monitor (many of them among the best in the world). This has a price in human lives.

    I have absolutely no confidence that the INAC is capable of ensuring safety in Conviasa o any other airline in Venezuela.

  7. Mike Says:

    they’re not flying Damascus and Tehran anymore. The phantom flight was top concern for US Southcom and others. It’s a direct air bridge that bypasses western security checks: cash, drugs, weapons, gear, WMDs and very bad dudes.

  8. John Barnard Says:

    Is that picture for real?

  9. Bill S. Says:

    Why does running cars on natural gas in Venezuela remind me of importing sand into the Sahara? I like the low capital investment inventory storage system. You get free seeds with your car, along with a patina of rust. Hey, it could catch on, like the faded, sliced- up jeans. Watch for spies from the German car manufacturers.

  10. Kepler Says:

    ¡Qué chapuceros!
    Really, the only way in which Chavistas would not be able to screw up things like that is if they really tried to screw them up, on purpose…in that case they would blow themselves up.

    Did you read the comments from that Universal article? Most Venezuelans have’t got the slightest clue about how the economy works.
    What kind of education and analytical thinking did they get when they were children? God!
    “The EU is doing that because it’s in recession and it doesn’t want
    competition”. Geez…

    • Ronaldo Says:

      What ever happened to the Venezuelan tradition of applauding every time an airliner landed? I miss it. Is it still done in Venezuela? Do passengers on Conviasa applauded louder and longer than those on the private airlines? The clapping of hands made everyone remember that a safe flight and landing was not a certainty. It was also a way of thanking God for a safe flight.

      I also remember a flight in a medium size jet of about 120 seats from Caracas to Canaima in 1983. As soon as the plane was well away from Caracas, the pilot flew it like a small single engine plane. It went low over the land so everyone could see the rivers and mesas. It flew next to Angel Falls and went up and down the twisting valley. It was great. FAA rules would have grounded those pilots for life. But in the jungle of Venezuela, who cares.

      • Amadeo Says:

        Dear Ronaldo, ask any Italian or Spanish old-timer which airline gave the best onboard service between Caracas and Madrid or Milan/Rome…

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