Venezuela and Syria are a juxtaposition of two troubled lands. One is descending into civil war while the other is emerging from it. That’s demonstrated in commercial air service schedules.
Earlier this week, the Trump Administration suspended all flights to Venezuela. Kevin McAleenan, Acting Homeland Security Secretary, warned that “conditions in Venezuela threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew.” A statement added:
This determination is based on the ongoing political instability and increased tensions in Venezuela and associated inadvertent risk to flight operations.
The move does not directly affect U.S. airlines, in that American, Delta, and United have already suspended all commercial service to Venezuela. In fact, only one airline, Avior, was still offering nonstop service from the U.S. (Miami) to Venezuela (Caracas).
Politics are certainly in play, but the fact that all U.S. airlines voluntarily pulled out Venezuela demonstrates that the safety concerns are very legitimate.
Meanwhile, Syria Starting To Re-Open
At the same time Venezuela flights were banned, Iraqi Airways announced it would resume service to Damascus, Syria this week from its Baghdad hub.
Syria descended into civil war in 2011 and by 2012 every commercial airline had pulled out of Syria except for flag-carrier Syrian Air. As the war winds down in that country and peace returns, airlines are returning. Iraqi Airways joins Fly Baghdad and FlyDamas in offering service to Iraq. Meanwhile, Cham Wings Airlines, a private Syrian airline, offers flights to 10 nations on a semi-regular basis with its fleet of four aircraft.
It’s still much easier to get to Venezuela than it is to Syria, but we see the availability of commercial air service as a health indicator of the country at large.
Whatever your views in either country, let us hope that peace and stability soon return to both nations, which will usher in a new era of commercial air travel.