Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy says he is confident a positive resolution will be found, after the Colombia-based Avianca Airlines was forced to immediately suspend its Bogotá to Barbados service last Friday.
The move to curtail flights that require passage over Venezuelan airspace came amid ongoing political and other turbulence in Caracas that has already led to the Donald Trump administration in the United States announcing sanctions against 13 senior Venezuelan officials.
Just last week, opposition forces in Caracas had also scheduled what turned out to be a flop of a “48-hour strike”.
To make matters worse for Avianca, its chairman and main shareholder, German Efromovich, has known links to the region’s right-wing elites, including Argentina’s Mauricio Macri and Colombia’s Alvaro Uribe.
In fact, according to the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, Argentina’s judiciary is currently investigating Efromovich and Macri for a business deal involving presumed illicit association, and fraud against the public administration, among other things.
However, without going into detail on the current problems facing the airline, Sealy pointed out that during the course of the past two years Barbados had enjoyed a “healthy working relationship” with Avianca, and “this partnership has served to provide a platform for several new opportunities in the emerging Latin America market.
“We are therefore working closely with Avianca to come up with viable solutions,” he added.
In announcing the suspension of flights last Friday Avianca said, “due to operational limitations”, it had decided to suspend flights between Bogota and Barbados indefinitely.
“The airline makes all efforts to serve travellers with reservation on cancelled flights and provide them a satisfactory solution.
“Avianca regrets the impact that the suspension of operations may have on customers and thanks the understanding to this measure aimed at preserving safety and security,” the carrier’s added.