Vie. Mar 1st, 2024

    (CNN Spanish) — Colombia and Venezuela resumed flights for the first time after almost three years without direct air connection, one more milestone towards the progress towards the normalization of diplomatic and commercial relations between the two countries, which for years have been stalled in the midst of the political and social of Venezuela.

    The reactivation of flights, which was scheduled for september of this year and then it was unsuccessfully rescheduled for OctoberIt finally happened on November 7 when a Boeing 737-400 plane called Virgen del Valle, from the Turpial Airlines airline, landed at the ElDorado Airport in Bogotá at around 7 p.m., coming from the Maiquetía International Airport that serves Caracas.

    The plane took off from Venezuela with 49 people on board, despite having a capacity for 150 passengers, due to the short time for the sale of tickets.

    «This really means great development for both countries, a great boost, which is what we want in the end, for the borders to open,» said Pedro Cestari, president of Aerolineas Turpiala journalist in Caracas.

    While the celebration of the resumption of the flight station takes place in Caracas, in room 54A of El Dorado The Minister of Transportation of Colombia, Germán Reyes, was meeting this Monday, together with the Minister of Commerce, Germán Umaña, as well as the Venezuelan ambassador in Bogotá, Félix Plasencia, waiting for the first passengers who arrived on the direct Caracas-Bogotá flight, which It lasted about an hour and a half.

    The flights were reactivated after a meeting of presidents Nicolás Maduro and Gustavo Petro in Caracas earlier this month.

    The Ministers of Transport and Trade of Colombia and the Venezuelan ambassador in Colombia wait for the passengers of the airline Turpial Airlines on the first direct flight in years between Venezuela and Colombia on November 7, 2022. (Credit: MinTransporte)

    The news is still striking because it not only seeks to reactivate commercial and tourist relations for the two countries, which have been renewed since President Gustavo Petro began his government in August 2022. The great beneficiaries of this measure will be the travelers who they will no longer have to make long layovers in Panama or the Dominican Republic, or cross the land border between Norte de Santander and Táchira, to travel between the two countries that share a border of about 2,300 kilometers.

    «This flight marked the long-awaited resumption of direct air connectivity between Colombia and Venezuela, two sister countries that work together for a prosperous future,» said Minister Reyes, who verified earlier than with this Turpial Airlines flight, «all the air operation.

    Passengers on a Turpial Airlines flight react upon their arrival at El Dorado International Airport on November 7, 2022 in Bogotá. – Airline 8820 Turpial bound for Caracas landed this Monday in Bogotá after more than two years of suspension of direct air connections. (Credit: DANIEL MUÑOZ/AFP via Getty Images)

    The turn now is for Colombia, which, in an unprecedented event, will fly internationally a plane from the state airline Satena, which normally has low-volume national routes and remote regions of the country where other commercial airlines do not normally arrive. This time it will be Satena that will inaugurate the flights between Bogotá and Caracas, with a small plane with capacity for 50 passengers.

    «This is the first international flight operated by Satena on board an Embraer ERJ145 aircraft», said in a statement Brigadier General Óscar Zuluaga, president of Satena, celebrating that passengers can resume their direct flights between Colombia and Venezuela after so many years.

    Colombia and Venezuela: 5 keys to the bilateral relationship 0:59

    This is what you should know about the resumption of flights between Colombia and Venezuela:

    Frequency and prices of air tickets

    So far little is known about logistical issues, taking into account that the authorities of both countries have said that more details of the reactivation of flights will be known in the coming days.

    «We hope in the next few days to establish new itineraries, what the reactivation of flights per week will be like and of course the possibility that other airlines such as Wingo, LATAM and Avianca begin to operate, and in the same way airlines such as Laser , Avior and Conviasa can happen,» said the Colombian Minister of Transport this Monday.

    For now it is known that the flights from Caracas to Bogotá with Turpiales will have a frequency like this:

    • Monday: Flights at 5:00 and 5:30 pm from Caracas to Bogotá with return that day from Bogotá to Caracas at 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.
    • Saturdays: Flights at 18:00 and 18:30 pm from Caracas to Bogotá. Return to Caracas from Bogotá at 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

    This airline allows you to carry a hold bag of 23 kg and a carry-on bag of 8 kg, according to information from Turpiales.

    • Frequencies with Satena will be on Wednesdays at 7:50 am, departing from Bogotá, according to the most recent information published from Bogotá.

    Prices for a round-trip ticket from Caracas via Turpial airlines average US$500, according to a query on their website.

    Meanwhile, Saten warned that the rates from Bogotá to Caracas they start at US$299 and Caracas Bogotá, from US$220.

    It is expected that a ticket from Barranquilla to Caracas costs an average of US$278 and from Caracas to Barranquilla, US$198, according to a Satena statement.

    Petro and Maduro meet in Venezuela. These are the key issues 4:23

    The routes between Colombia and Venezuela

    Until now there is confirmation of the routes between the capitals of Colombia and Venezuela, but, according to Satena, it is expected that in the next few days it will be possible to start marketing the Barranquilla – Caracas – Barranquilla routes.

    Turpial Airlines has not announced more routes, but previously airlines such as the Colombian Wingo had planes to open Valencia-Bogotá routes, among others.

    What about other airlines?

    Last October, the governments of Colombia and Venezuela announced the reactivation of flights between the two countries with airlines such as Wingo and Conviasa. However, a few days before the first flight scheduled for October 4, Colombia did not allow access to Conviasa flights because the Venezuelan state airline was sanctioned by the US Department of the Treasury, for which it was necessary stop the scheduled air operation.

    Wingo said at the time that the suspension of the flights that were expected to start on October 4 would be due to «issues between the governments of Colombia and Venezuela regarding the airlines approved to carry out flights between the two countries.»

    The Minister of Transport of Colombia said this Monday that «in the next few days» new itineraries will be established, the frequency of the flights will be reported and it will be established if there is a possibility that other Colombian airlines such as Wingo, Latam and Avianca, by Colombia ; and Laser Airlines, Avior and Conviasa, can start operating between the two countries.

    According to the Colombian Civil AeronauticsThe Colombian government is advancing in the technical and administrative coordination for the reactivation of commercial flights to and from Venezuela and this is the status of each airline that has requested the green light to fly.

    Wingo: It has authorization from Aerocivil and has accredited compliance with the requirements before the Venezuelan authority regarding the Bogotá-Caracas-Bogotá route, with 7 weekly frequencies. At this time, he is waiting for authorization from the National Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Venezuela to fly to Caracas and for it to also authorize flights between Medellín and Caracas and Bogotá-Valencia-Bogotá, both with a schedule of 7 flights a week.

    LATAM: According to the Civil Aeronautics, this airline has been approved by the Colombian authority to travel to Venezuela and «acceptance of designation by the INAC of Venezuela», since July 2022 to fly Bogotá-Caracas-Bogotá, with 7 weekly frequencies.

    Avianca: It has the approval of the Aerocivil to operate towards Venezuela. This airline is in the process of accreditation before the INAC of Venezuela to obtain permits to operate on the Bogotá-Caracas-Bogotá route, with 7 weekly frequencies, according to Aerocivil.

    Laser airlines: The Venezuelan airline already has the approval from the INAC to fly between Caracas and Bogotá and Maiquetía-Bogotá, according to the aerocivil. Each route will have 7 weekly routes. The Colombian Civil Aeronautics has already given the go-ahead and informed the state airline of the operating permit and the steps to follow, according to Aerocivil.

    Aviator: The Colombian aviation authority recognized the foreign operator’s certificate and by October of this year consultations related to administrative aspects were carried out by the Colombian Aeronautical Authority.

    — With information from CNN’s Osmary Hernández in Caracas and CNN’s Melissa Velásquez in Bogotá.

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