Published On: Thu, Jan 9th, 2014

Air Europa suspends ticket sales in Venezuela

Air_EuropaCARACAS – Air Europa has suspended all ticket sales to Venezuela because the currency control made ​​it difficulties for international companies to convert bolivars to dollars, making it impossible to transfer their profits abroad.

Ticket sales are temporarily suspended until further notice, Julio Fernandez, a spokesman for the airline’s parent, Globalia Corporacion Empresarial SA, said by phone from Madrid. He declined to give a reason for the suspension.

The Madrid-based airline, which according to data compiled by Bloomberg flies six days a week between Madrid and Caracas, has an equivalent of $100 million in Venezuela at the official exchange rate of 6.3 bolivars per dollar, he said.

Tickets from American Airlines (AAL) Inc., Grupo Aeromexico SAB and Avianca Holdings SA became harder to buy in bolivars late last year as investment banks from Bank of America Corp. to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. forecast the government would devalue the local currency. Airlines have the equivalent of $2.6 billion locked in Venezuela, the International Air Transport Association said Nov. 14.

Delays in repatriating funds from Venezuela doubled to 12 months in the third quarter of 2013 from the previous year, Pedro Heilbron, chief executive officer of Panamanian airline Copa Holdings SA, said in a conference call Nov. 13.

Bogota-based Avianca reduced sales in Venezuela to $17 million in September from a monthly average of $50 million earlier that year, Vice President of Treasury Maria Cecilia Escallon said in a conference call Nov. 18. The company bought offices in Venezuela to invest revenue it didn’t expatriate, Escallon said.

Source: Bloomberg

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