Tensions are rising in a diplomatic spat between Venezuela and Panama. After the Panamanian government listed Venezuelan “President” Nicolas Maduro and 50 other Venezuelans on a “high risk” money laundering watch list Maduro revoked the rights for Copa Airlines to operate into Venezuela. The move took effect immediately; Copa’s last flight into Venezuela operated on Thursday afternoon.
The suspension is temporary, at least in theory. But it is also bad news for a country suffering a humanitarian crisis and where international aviation remains one of the few means for relief supplies to reliably arrive. Of the roughly 100 commercial passenger flights arriving in Caracas over the past week 21 were Copa-operated. Until this incident Copa was the most frequent foreign carrier operating into the Venezuelan capital. It continued to do so in the face of economic and security challenges. Losing those flights is horrible news for relief agencies caring for the Venezuelan people.
And so, while the two countries bicker over the diplomatic issues, the flights are grounded.
American Airlines did just announce an expected increase in service to Caracas as part of a Latin America coverage shift but was light on details on what that meant specifically to Caracas.
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