Venezuela’s national airline, Conviasa, announced on July 2 that it will launch the new international route between Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, and the southern Chinese metropolitan city, Guangzhou. The flights will be operated by Conviasa’s Airbus A340.
The weekly flight will take off from Caracas Simon Bolivar International Airport (CCS) and arrive at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) with a technical stopover at Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) in Tehran. The flight route is:
- Caracas (CCS) 10:00 p.m. – Guangzhou (CAN) 4:00 p.m.+1 Saturday via Tehran (IKA)
- Guangzhou (CAN) 7:00 p.m. – Caracas (CCS) 1:30 p.m.+1 Monday via Tehran (IKA)
By launching the new route, Guangzhou in China will be Conviasa’s third destination in Asia, after Moscow in Russia and Tehran in Iran.
Expansion of Conviasa’s international network
Conviasa launched the route between Caracas and Moscow Vnukovo International Airport in May 2021. The service started once every two weeks and was once increased to a weekly basis in November 2021. But now it has returned to the schedule of a flight every 15 days.
Conviasa launched the route between Caracas and Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport in May 2021. Conviasa’s first plane was spotted arriving in Moscow on May 15, 2021. Photo: Getty Images
Conviasa also resumed its twice-weekly service to Tehran on June 19, 2022, after months of disruption, also making Caracas the only city in the American continent to offer a non-stop flight to Tehran. The upcoming Chinese route could be seen as an extension of the Tehran route.
Before officially launching the Guangzhou route, Conviasa made several visits to China during the COVID-19 pandemic for the assistance of medical supplies, especially vaccines, from China. This route will also make Conviasa the only South American operator to offer scheduled passenger flights to Guangzhou.
Conviasa confirmed early last month that it would launch regular passenger flights to Algiers, Algeria (ALG), another country allied with Venezuela, making Algiers its first destination in Africa. The flights have already started on July 27. Operations will also be handled by its A340.
The Algiers route was announced after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s Eurasian tour of Turkey, Algeria and Iran early last month, in a bid to reaffirm trade alliances.
Conviasa is also scheduling services to Doha, Qatar for the World Cup at the end of this year, although there are no confirmed operations at this time.
Venezuela’s civil aviation regulator, the National Institute of Civil Aeronautics (INAC), has authorized scheduled commercial passenger and cargo flights to the following countries: Brazil, Cuba, Turkey, Russia, Mexico, Bolivia, Panama, Portugal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Spain, Iran and China.
Conviasa’s aging A340 fleet
After receiving one A340 in January 2021, Conviasa now has four A340s, including one A340-200, one A340-300 and two A340-600s. One of the problems with Conviasa’s A340 fleet is that the average age of the aircraft is over 20 years.
The problem of the aging fleet is mainly due to the sanctions imposed by the United States and the resulting domestic economic crisis.
Conviasa and all of its 30+ planes were sanctioned by the United States in February 2020 after the United States considered President Maduro using the national carrier for political purposes.
The sanctions blocked U.S. companies and nationals from doing business with Conviasa and its aircraft, such as chartering, contracting, refueling, repairing, leasing or purchasing aircraft, except exceptions allowed.
Have you ever traveled with Conviasa, perhaps for international flights? According to you, what are the current challenges of Conviasa other than the aging of the fleet? Please share your valuable thoughts in the comments.