Transcarga application for Venezuela-US flights rejected

Transcarga International Airways attempt to circumnavigate a US ban on flights to and from Venezuela has been rejected.

On May 5, the US Department of Transportation (DoT) issued an order banning all US and foreign carriers from providing services to and from the South American country, at the request of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), on security grounds.

In June, Transcarga applied to run its charter flights to the US via intermediary airports where it could screen cargo and meet US security requirements in order to avoid the ban.

It had hoped to fly three times per week from Caracas to Miami via Panama City, Santo Domingo or Bogota.

The airline said that denial of the exemption would put its very existence as a privately-owned Venezuelan carrier at risk.

However, the DoT denied the request and said that the ban was not just down to concerns about cargo screening.

It quoted several other factors given by the DHS in a letter: Reports of civil unrest around airports; the inability of the Transportation Security Administration to gain access to airports to conduct security assessments; the current “economic and political crisis”; the cancellation of flights to the country by three US carriers; the publication of do not travel advisories and suspension of embassy operations; the FAA’s ban on flight operations by US carriers below certain altitudes in the country; and the risk of actions been taken against American citizens and interests.

“While we have taken note of the cargo screening mitigation efforts proposed by [Transcarga], the DHS letter and Order 2019-5-5 make clear that the conditions in Venezuela that led to the service suspension go well beyond that sole [screening] issue,” the DoT said.

“We are not aware of any changes in the conditions in Venezuela since the issuance of Order 2019-5-5 that would support a decision to deviate from the terms of that order. Nor have we been so advised by DHS or the Department of State. Against this background, and taking into account all the circumstances presented, we find that TIACA has not provided a persuasive basis for us to deviate from the service suspension put in place


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