Venezuela authorized commercial flights to and from Panama, although it extended until February 2021 the ban on air operations in force since March due to the covid-19 pandemic, the aeronautical authority announced on Wednesday.
The National Institute of Civil Aeronautics (INAC) reported that Panama was included in an exception declared on November 2 for the routes that connect Venezuela with the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Turkey and Iran.
The closure of airports continues for prevention of covid
-19 from November 11, 2020 until February 11, 2021, INAC said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Exceptions are "commercial air operations" between Venezuela and "Turkey, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Iran and Panama," the post added without giving further details.
Previously, since the ban came into effect in March, only emergency operations, as well as cargo and mail flights and humanitarian flights, were exempt.
The partial resumption of commercial flights only includes the Maiquetía international airport, which serves Caracas, sources consulted by AFP indicated.
The only authorized internal destination is Los Roques National Park (north), one of the main tourist attractions in Venezuela, an archipelago known for its white sand beaches and crystal clear waters.
Passengers must present the negative result of a PCR test, carried out in a period no longer than 48 hours before the flight, explained operators of the authorized airlines.
Venezuela, with 30 million inhabitants, accumulates 95,445 infections and 834 deaths, according to official figures, which organizations such as Human Rights Watch question as not very credible.
Before the pandemic, which reached a country that is moving towards its seventh consecutive year of recession, air activity had collapsed due to a massive exodus of airlines, due to state debts that amount to 3.8 billion dollars due to lack of foreign exchange to repatriate earnings within the framework of an exchange control applied since 2003, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
However, companies such as Air France, Iberia and Turkish Airlines maintained flights to destinations such as Paris, Madrid or Istanbul, while others such as Wingo flew to Bogotá.