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Some airlines mull quitting Venezuela over debts

Published on Mar 27, 2014 4:50 AM

SANTIAGO (REUTERS) - Some major airlines are considering ceasing operations in Venezuela because of currency controls that have left the airlines unable to repatriate US$3.8 billion (S$4.8 billion) in revenues, the head of the industry's main organization said on Wednesday.

Members of the International Air Transport Association are frustrated with accumulation of local currency that they cannot transfer out of the country without incurring heavy losses, and disappointed with government silence about potential solutions.

"I am aware that some of (the airlines) are considering very significant cutbacks or indeed suspending operations," said IATA Chief Executive Tony Tyler when asked in a Reuters interview on the sidelines of FIDAE airshow in Santiago.

"The airlines want to keep serving the market. They want to keep connecting Venezuela to the world. But they do expect to get paid for it." Venezuela requires airlines to bill tickets sold to the country's residents in local bolivar currency, but the government currency board has not approved requests to repatriate the resulting revenue.

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