Venezuelan Airline Conviasa To Launch Syria Flights

As of 2nd March, brave travelers will be able to fly between Caracas and Damascus. Schedule data reveals that Venezuela’s national airline, Conviasa, will be launching direct flights between the Venezuelan and Syrian capitals.

YV1004 Airbus A.340 ConViasa
In March Conviasa will be flying from Caracas direct to Damascus. Photo: David via Flickr

According to reports by One Mile at a Time, Venezuela’s national airline, Conviasa, will shortly be commencing flights between the Venezuelan and Syrian capitals. Schedule data shows that Conviasa will commence the route on 2 March, operating the roughly 6,600-mile flight with its single Airbus A340.

The listing for the route shows a flight duration of 12 hours 30 minutes from Caracas to Damascus and 15 hours on the return leg of the journey.

Conviasa’s website shows available flights from Caracas to Damascus at 4:00 pm on each of the five Mondays in March. The return leg departs at 10:30 am on Wednesdays, although it’s not clear whether the final return leg will operate as it falls on 1 April.

Not your typical international flight

When it comes to hair raising destinations around the world, Caracas and Damascus would probably feature pretty high up most people’s lists.

Venezuela is in the midst of a political and humanitarian crisis that has raged for years now, and the country has the third-highest murder rate in the world.

YV1004 Airbus A.340 ConViasa
Conviasa has just one Airbus A340 in its entire fleet. Photo: David via Flickr

Syria, on the other hand, while not in the depths of the civil war which gripped it a few years ago, is still a very turbulent place.

Given the current situation in both countries, you’d think there wouldn’t be much demand in either country for leisure flights to an undesirable destination halfway across the world.

As pointed out by One Mile at a Time, tickets for a return journey between Caracas and Damascus are around $1,700, putting them firmly out of reach for your average Venezuelan or Syrian. Seats on these flights are also only available in economy class.

So why are these flights being operated?

If you’re thinking Conviasa is just trying out a quirky new route, there are a number of hints that these flights may not be what they seem at first glance.

Given the lack of plausible customers for these flights, there may well be a more political reason for a short spree of flights between Venezuela and Syria.

Conviasa Embraer 190AR taking off at Caracas
Return flights between Caracas and Damascus will be around $1,700. Photo: Orlando Suárez via Wikimedia Commons

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro and Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad have both been sanctioned by the US government. Together they sit on a list of just four heads of state to have been sanctioned by the US.

Given the dire economic situation in Venezuela, the flights could be used to transport a lifeline of some sort from Syria.

Venezuela’s aviation safety rating

Conviasa’s flights to Damascus aside, Venezuela’s aviation safety rating was recently downgraded by the FAA.

On 13 December, the FAA announced its decision, saying that it had “determined the Venezuelan regime no longer complies with international aviation safety standards.”

Venezuela now sits in the FAA’s Category 2 rating, alongside other countries like Malaysia, Costa Rica and Bangladesh, and all US airlines are currently banned from flying to the country.