Tame airlines may drop Venezuela flights over debt and safety concerns
Government-owned Tame airlines is considering dropping flights between Quito and Venezuela’s main international airport in Caracas. According the airlines CEO, Ignacio Vallejo, the Venezuelan government has been slow to repay a debt of $20 million and there are concerns about safety conditions at Maiquetía Simón Bolívar International Airport.
“Fourteen international carriers withdrawn from the Caracas destination for a variety of reason, many of them financial,” Vallejo said. “For now, we will maintain our schedule of five flights a week but we are in the process of deciding whether we can continue.”
The Venezuelan government owes Tame at least $16 million on ticket sales going back to 2014 and Vallejo said that repayment has been slow and tedious. “There are problems concerning the currency exchange differential, which requires time to resolve,” he said. According to the World Bank, Venezuela’s inflation rate was 700% in 2015 and 2016 but the government refuses to accept the figure.
Vallejo also said that pilots flying the Caracas route have complained about safety issues at Simón Bolívar airport, particularly runway maintenance.