During a meeting yesterday at the Venezuelan Ministry of Aquatic and Air Transportation, representatives of U.S. airlines, including Delta Airlines, American Airlines and Federal express, assured that airport operations in Venezuela are safe and reliable.
In attendance at the meeting was the Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela, James Derham, as well as several representatives of U.S. commercial and cargo airlines operating in Venezuela: Omar Nottaro of American Airlines, María Isabel Ponce of Federal Express, Andrés Tinoco and Arnoldo Troconis of United Airlines, and Liz Bello of Delta Air Lines.
The general director of Planning and Air Transportation of the Venezuelan Ministry of Transportation also attended the event, together with the President of the National Institute of Civil Aeronautics (INAC), Francisco Paz Fleitas.
The airlines’ representatives stressed that they respect the civil aviation norms and proceedings established by Venezuelan government agencies.
Omar Nottaro of American Airlines said: “we consider that operations to and from Venezuelan airports are safe. That’s why we have talked to our representatives overseas to let them know that we are satisfied with these operations. If they were not safe, we wouldn’t be flying to those airports,”
Andrés Tinoco of United Airlines siad: “We have also talked to our main office so they can also stay in touch with representatives of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and let them know our position on this issue.”
Additionally, representatives of Delta Air Lines and Federal Express said they appreciate the safety of Venezuelan airports, which follow norms established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The representatives also said they are in constant communication with Venezuelan airport authorities in order to maintain up-to-date safety protocols.
The U.S. Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires in Venezuela, James Derham, said that signs in U.S. airports warning about Venezuelan airports date back to 2008, when the TSA proposed technical visits to the country. He indicated that they are willing to find a positive solution to the issue.
“The TSA has no conditions to determine the level of fulfillment of safety protocols in Venezuelan airports,” Derham said.
Venezuelan Authorities Ratify Safety of Airports
The President of Venezuela’s National Institute of Civil Aeronautics (INAC), Francisco Paz Fleitas, stressed the importance of holding such meetings as part of bilateral agreements, following technical norms recommended by ICAO to discuss the distorted and erroneous perceptions caused by the signs placed in U.S. airports regarding the supposed lack of safety of Venezuelan airports.
The technical visit proposed by the TSA will be held in June of this year. The meeting will be based on the principle of reciprocity in bilateral relations in terms of aviation, following principles of mutual cooperation and international norms on safety aviation.
Paz Fleitas mentioned a letter sent by the Venezuelan aeronautic authority to airlines requesting that they clarify their position on the TSA’s allegations, given that these U.S. airlines continue operating flights to and from airports in Venezuela.
The Venezuelan airports follow strict safety norms, he said, which is reflected in the fact that airlines from all around the world operate in the country and frequently seek approval for new routes.
Likewise, the INAC president recalled that “there have been no undesirable events preventing the proper implementation of safety norms in Venezuelan airports. Statistics on the number of flight operations confirm that we have conducted, in a sustained manner, actions to guarantee safety in airports.”
Paz Fleitas also questioned “the distorted information emanating from the TSA or any other agency questioning the management of the Venezuelan aeronautic authority. We have cases in which companies from other countries, for example, Brazil, are seeking authorization to operate routes from Venezuela to the U.S. and the TSA is not giving them real answers, since they put in doubt the fact that the operational safety measures are met.”
Finally, the INAC president said: “because our airports follow proper safety protocols, U.S. airlines operate over 80 percent of air transportation from Venezuela to the U.S. and vice versa.”
National Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Venezuela (INAC) / May 22, 2012