After eight months of grounded operations, the Civil Aviation National Institute in Venezuela (INAC) authorized the resumption of Copa Airlines flights. Along with the Panamanian carrier flying from Panama City, the INAC allowed the commercial service to other destinations across the world. Let’s investigate further.
When will Copa be allowed to fly again to Venezuela?
Step by step, Copa Airlines is resuming its international operations across Latin America. Before the pandemic, the Panamanian carrier flew to every country in the continent while only having one domestic route. This dependence on international connectivity left Copa very vulnerable when the Governments across the region shut their airspaces to contain the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading into their territories.
In the meantime, Panama also shut its airspace, effectively grounding Copa Airlines, which only just recently started flying again.
Now, Venezuela has set the date to reopen the country. Copa Airlines will be able to fly between Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport and Caracas starting on 24 November.
Copa will operate three weekly flights between both countries on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Additionally, Copa is waiting for the Venezuelan Government approval to restart flights to Valencia and Maracaibo. The airline said in a statement,
“We hope that the restart of flights allows thousands of passengers that are waiting to return to their homes, gather with their families, attend medical appointments, important meetings, or family reunions.”
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What do passengers need to fly to Venezuela?
At the moment, Panama still has some restrictions as to what kind of passengers enter their country. For instance, connection flights have to be six hours in between at most. On the positive side, passengers on transit don’t require to have a negative PCR test to enter. And while the passengers wait for their second flight, they have to observe several health measures:
- At all times, you must wear a face mask inside the airport.
- At the gate, you have to comply with social distancing requirements.
- During the boarding process, Copa will follow the social distancing measures recommended by the health authorities.
- Copa will board flights by groups, from back to front. It will call each group separately to minimize congestions.
- Tocumen will have electronic scanners to allow self-boarding.
Those are the rules in Panama. Now, when arriving in Venezuela, there is another set of rules, according to INAC:
- Passengers have to show a negative PCR test that was made less than 48 hours at the time of the arrival.
- Plus, at the airport, passengers will receive another, costless, PCR test.
- Currently, passengers arriving from commercial flights into Venezuela don’t require to quarantine themselves. Only people coming on humanitarian flights need to do that.
One more thing: it is very unlikely that you’ll be able to travel from the US to Venezuela with Copa Airlines. In June, the US Department of Transportation fined the Panamanian carrier for selling flight tickets between the two countries, via Tocumen.
What other countries is Venezuela allowing?
Besides Panama, Venezuela is allowing commercial flights from four other countries. Despite what you might think, only half of these countries are in Latin America.
In what can only be described as a political move, Venezuela is allowing commercial flights from Turkey and Iran. From Latin America, the chosen countries are Mexico and the Dominican Republic, according to INAC.
Before the pandemic, Caracas International Airport was directly connected to 29 destinations in 12 countries. It had a direct route to Istambul with Turkish Airlines; Conviasa connected with Toluca and Cancun in Mexico, and several Venezuelan airlines (Avior, Conviasa, and LASER Airlines) flew directly to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. As of Iran, the quickest way to connect both countries was via Istambul.
Do you expect to travel to Venezuela soon? Let us know in the comments.