Venezuela’s ongoing political and economic turmoil has led to a slow deterioration of airline service to the once thriving South American metropolis. Simón Bolívar International Airport (CCS) in Caracas, Venezuela once had service from dozens of international airlines to major destinations throughout the Americas and Europe.
Legitimate safety and security concerns led Delta and United to suspend operations to Caracas (CCS) in 2017. Despite serious operational challenges, American Airlines remained committed to serving the Venezuelan market from its Latin American gateway in Miami (MIA). The carrier previously flew from both Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) and New York (JFK) to Caracas (CCS), but has reduced its service to just twice daily from Miami to Caracas.
In March 2019, American temporarily suspended all service to Venezuela – twice daily to Caracas (CCS) and once daily to Maracaibo (MAR) – citing safety concerns for its crew.
Copa Airlines remains committed to serving Venezuela
Panamanian flag carrier Copa Airlines provides the most robust and consistent international service to Venezuela. From its hub in Panama City (PTY), Copa flies to Caracas (CCS), Maracaibo (MAR), and Valencia (VLN).
Even with the latest round of power outages, Copa has maintained consistent service to Caracas, although a travel waiver is in effect.
Copa Airlines reaffirms its commitment to commercial development and tourism promotion in Venezuela, where it began operations in 1997.
Several major European airlines still serve Caracas, at least for now
Despite the horrifying ordeal of the Air Europa crew, several European flag carriers still service Caracas (CCS) on a less-than-daily basis:
- Air Europa to Madrid (MAD) – operates via Punta Cana (PUJ)
- Air France to Paris (CDG)
- Iberia to Madrid (MAD)
- TAP* to Lisbon (LIS) *operated by EuroAtlantic Airways
- Turkish to Istanbul (IST) – operates via Havana (HAV)
Triangle routes like Turkish’s Istanbul (IST) – Havana (HAV) – Caracas (CCS) allows the carrier to change crews in Havana, and avoid risky layovers in Caracas.
Spanish Carrier Plus Ultra
One of the most surprising airlines still operating from Caracas (CCS) is Spanish leisure carrier Plus Ultra. The airline operates flights to Tenerife (TFN) – in Spain’s Canary Islands – and Madrid (MAD), on a somewhat inconsistent basis. Plus Ultra operates a fleet of three ex-Air France Airbus A340-300 aircraft.
Flight PU 712 from Caracas (CCS) to Tenerife (TFN) operates once weekly on Saturdays, with a flight time just shy of seven hours. Flights PU 702 and 704 from Caracas (CCS) to Madrid (MAD) fly twice(ish) per week, although most flights in March appear to have been canceled.
Major international carriers that have suspended Caracas
Air Canada was one of the first major international carriers to pull out of Caracas (CCS) back in 2014, according to Airways Magazine. Other major international airlines that have suspended Venezuelan operations include:
- Air Canada – service to Toronto (YYZ) – suspended March 2014
- Alitalia – service to Rome (FCO) – suspended April 2015
- LATAM – service to Sao Paulo (GRU) – suspended May 2016
- Lufthansa – service to Frankfurt (FRA) – suspended June 2016
- Aeromexico – service to Mexico City (MEX) – suspended June 2016
- Dynamic Airways – service to Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) – suspended August 2016
- United – service to Houston (IAH) – suspended June 2017
- Delta – service to Atlanta (ATL) – suspended September 2017
With airlines flying to Venezuela becoming few and far between, air travel for locals and visitors alike is becoming tough. Would you fly to Venezuela right now? Let us know in the comments.