Whoa: Turkish Airlines Wants to Open a Base in Caracas (CCS)?!

Image result for Turkish Airlines logo

Strange Times, Indeed

In a surprise – perhaps even shocking – announcement, Venezuela’s Maduro announced Turkish Airlines is looking to open an operating base in Caracas, Venezuela (CCS).

According to Airways Magazine, Maduro stated the following during his state visit to Ankara, Turkey:

We are moving forward with Turkish Airlines opening a base in Venezuela for all their Latin American and Caribbean operations, which makes us feel very optimistic.

Turkish Airlines Serves Caracas (CCS) via Havana (HAV)

Turkish Airlines currently flies to Caracas (CCS) via a stop in Havana, Cuba (HAV). The carrier inaugurated the three-weekly route with a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft which has since been downgauged to an Airbus A330-200. The route operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Turkish Airlines Havana and Caracas

Turkish Istanbul (IST) – Havana (HAV) – Caracas (CCS) | Image: Great Circle Mapper

Venezuela’s tourism industry and business community aren’t exactly thriving under the country’s staggering 40,000% inflation rate. An estimated 90%+ of Venezuelans live in poverty with a recent survey suggesting the average Venezuelan has lost 25 pounds.

#Venezuela annual inflation rate measured for today, 7/2/18, is 41,956%, a new, all-time high. pic.twitter.com/6bm5w96kKl

— Prof. Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) July 2, 2018

Venezuela’s Inflation Rate | Prof. Steve H Hanke

Strengthing Relations Between Turkey and Venezuela

The surprise announcement comes as Maduro visits Turkey to strengthen relations between the two nations. As U.S. and EU sanctions cripple Venezuela’s economy, Maduro is looking to new allies to build support for his cryptocurrency, the Petro.

A Market Void in Caracas (CCS)

The once-thriving Simón Bolívar International Airport (CCS) is served by just a handful of reputable airlines. American Airlines is the only remaining U.S. airline to serve CCS from its hub in Miami (MIA). The carrier operates two daily flights:

American Airlines Flights to Caracas (CCS)

American Airlines Flights to Caracas (CCS)

Given the relatively short flight length, American crews do not layover in Caracas. Before United Airlines dropped its Caracas flight in June 2017, the carrier added a stop in Aruba (AUA) for a crew change to avoid having to layover in Caracas. Delta Air Lines also terminated its Caracas (CCS) service from Atlanta (ATL) in 2017.

United Airlines in Caracas

United’s Caracas Flight Operated via Aruba (AUA)

Other notable carriers ending service to Caracas (CCS) include:

  • Aerolíneas Argentinas
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada
  • Avianca
  • Air Canada
  • LATAM
  • Lufthansa

Despite the Challenges, (Some) Euro Carriers Remain

Similar to United, both Iberia and TAP Portugal previously added tech stops to avoid crews having to layover in Caracas. TAP Portugal’s flight to Lisbon (LIS) is now operated nonstop by a wet-leased EuroAtlantic Airways Boeing 767-300 aircraft on select days.

Air Europa and Iberia fly to Madrid (MAD) and Air France flies to Paris (CDG).

Caracas Service to Europe

Air Europa, Air France, Iberia, TAP Portugal, and Turkish Serve CCS | Image: Great Circle Mapper

 

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Comments

  1. A number of airlines belong to the Star Alliance, and others to the One World Alliance. With service to Cuba and Venezuela, it looks like Turkish Airlines wants to be a founding member of the Failed Dictatorships Alliance.

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