Caracas Simón Bolívar International Airport

Maiquetiaairport
Source: wikipedia
IATA: CCS ICAO: SVMI
Summary
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorInstituto Autónomo del Aeropuerto Internacional de Maiquetía
ServesCaracas, Venezuela
LocationMaiquetía
Hub forConviasa LASER Airlines Solar Cargo Transcarga
Elevation AMSL235 ft / 72 m
Coordinates10°36′11″N 066°59′26″WCoordinates: 10°36′11″N 066°59′26″W
Websiteaeropuerto-maiquetia.com.ve

Simón Bolívar International Airport or Maiquetía “Simón Bolívar” International Airport (IATA: CCS, ICAO: SVMI, Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional de Maiquetia “Simón Bolívar”) is an international airport located in Maiquetía, Vargas, Venezuela about 21 kilometres (13 mi) west of downtown Caracas, the capital of the country. Simply called Maiquetía by the local population, it is the main international air passenger gateway to Venezuela. It handles flights to destinations in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.

Aerial view
Source: Agencia Bolivariana para Actividades Espaciales

Crisis in Venezuela

During the ongoing crisis in Bolivarian Venezuela, domestic airlines are laboring under tremendous difficulties because of hyperinflation and parts shortages. Many international airlines have left the country. International airlines that have left Venezuela include Aeroméxico, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Air Canada, Alitalia, Avianca, Delta, Lufthansa, and LATAM, making travel to the country difficult. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Bolivarian government has not paid US$3.8 billion to international airlines in a currency issue involving conversion of local currency to U.S. dollars. Airlines have left for other reasons, including crime against flight crews, stolen baggage, and problems with the quality of jet fuel and maintenance of runways.

Following the increasing economic partnership between Venezuela and Turkey in October 2016, Turkish Airlines started offering direct flights from December 2016 connecting between Caracas to Istanbul (via Havana, Cuba) in an effort to “link and expand contacts” between the two countries.

By 2018, terminals in the airport lacked air conditioning and utilities such as water and electricity. Flight crews are often sent to different cities to avoid crime that occurs in the area. The company charged with providing sanitation services ceased to exist, so cleaning no longer occurs as frequently at the facility. The Bolivarian National Guard, tasked with providing security, often extorts travelers by force.

In support of President Nicolas Maduro’s government, Russian Air Force aircraft, including Tupolev Tu-160 bombers, were deployed to the airport in early December 2018. In March 2019, two Russian planes were deployed to the airport carrying 100 troops and 35 tonnes of matériel. The Russian planes left the country 3 months later on 26 June 2019, according to the Russian embassy announcement.

American Airlines, the last U.S. airline serving Venezuela, left on 15 March 2019, after its pilots refused to fly to Venezuela, citing safety issues. Two months later, the United States Department of Transportation and Department of Homeland Security indefinitely suspended all flights between Venezuela and the United States, due to safety and security concerns.The suspension affects mainly Venezuelan airlines that flew to Miami: Avior Airlines, LASER Airlines, and Estelar Latinoamerica.

Iranian airline Mahan Air (blacklisted by the U.S. government since 2011) began direct flights to Caracas in April 2019, “signifying a growing relationship between the two nations” according to Fox News.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the government announced on 3 February 2020 that the country has imposed epidemiological surveillance, restrictions and diagnostic system to detect possible patients at this airport and that Venezuela will receive a diagnostic kit for the virus strain from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Airlines and destinations

Passenger

AirlinesDestinations
Aerocaribe AirlinesCharter: Los Roques
AeropostalHavana, Porlamar, Santiago de Cuba
Air EuropaMadrid
Air FranceParis–Charles de Gaulle
Albatros AirlinesBarranquilla, Bogotá, Las Piedras, Los Roques, Medellín, Porlamar, Puerto Cabello, Puerto Ordaz, San José de Costa Rica
Avior AirlinesBarcelona (VEN), Barinas, Belém, PA – BRA, Bogotá, Cali, Curaçao, Guayaquil, Lima, Manaus, Medellín, Porlamar, Puerto Ordaz, Punta Cana
Caribbean AirlinesPort of Spain
ConviasaBarinas, Cancún, Cumaná, El Vigía, Guayaquil, Havana, La Fría, Las Piedras, Managua, Maracaibo, Maturín, Panama City–Tocumen, Porlamar, Puerto Ayacucho, Puerto Ordaz, Quito, San Fernando de Apure, Santa Cruz de La Sierra–Viru Viru, Santo Domingo del Táchira, San Tomé, Toluca/Mexico City
Copa AirlinesPanama City–Tocumen
Estelar LatinoamericaBarquisimeto, Buenos Aires–Ezeiza, Cumaná, Lima, Lisbon, Madrid, Maracaibo, Maturín, Porlamar, Puerto Ordaz, Santiago de Chile, Santo Domingo del Táchira
IberiaMadrid
LASER AirlinesAruba, Barcelona (VE), Barquisimeto, Bogotá, Curaçao, El Vigía, Guayaquil, La Fría, Maracaibo, Panama City–Tocumen, Porlamar, Puerto Ordaz, Santo Domingo–Las Americas
Plus Ultra Líneas AéreasMadrid, Tenerife–North
RUTACA AirlinesBarcelona (VE), Ciudad Bolívar, Porlamar
SASCACharter: Los Roques
TAP Air PortugalLisbon
Turkish AirlinesIstanbul1
VenezolanaMaracaibo, Maturín, Panama City–Tocumen, Porlamar, Port of Spain, Santo Domingo–Las Americas
WingoBogotá

Chronology of international airlines formerly serving Caracas

Since 2014, foreign and domestic carriers have reduced their presence due to political instability and their inability to recover US$3.8 billion in funds owed to airlines. For fear of safety, some carriers have avoided overnight flight crews in Caracas, choosing to make a stop in a nearby country instead. The chronology of terminations is as follows:

AirlineDestinationFlight frequencyTerminated/Suspended
Air Canada Toronto–Pearson4 flights per week18 March 2014
Avianca Costa Rica San Jose de Costa RicaDaily flights7 April 2014
American Airlines Dallas–Fort Worth1 flight per week1 July 2014
American Airlines San JuanDaily flights1 July 2014
Alitalia Rome–Fiumicino1 flight per week3 April 2015
Gol Transportes Aéreos São Paulo–Guarulhos1 flight per week10 February 2016
American Airlines New York–JFK5 flights per week4 April 2016
LATAM Brasil São Paulo–Guarulhos1 flight per week28 May 2016
Lufthansa Frankfurt3 flights per week17 June 2016
Aeroméxico Mexico City3 flights per week23 June 2016
LATAM Perú Lima1 flight per week1 August 2016
LATAM Chile Santiago2 flights per week1 August 2016
LATAM Chile Miami1 flight per week1 August 2016
Dynamic Airways Fort Lauderdale–HollywoodDaily flights13 August 2016
Insel Air Willemstad, CuraçaoDaily flights7 June 2017
United Airlines Houston–IntercontinentalDaily flights30 June 2017
Avianca Bogotá3 flights per day27 July 2017
Dynamic Airways New York–JFK2 flights per week1 August 2017
Aerolíneas Argentinas Buenos Aires–Ezeiza1 flight per week5 August 2017
Delta Air Lines AtlantaDaily flights16 September 2017
TAME Quito via  Bogotá4 flights per week3 February 2018
American Airlines Miami2 flights per day15 March 2019
Cubana de Aviación Havana and HolguínWeekly flights23 October 2019[22]

Cargo

AirlinesDestinations
DHL AviationPort of Spain
KF CargoLima
Sky Lease CargoLima
Solar CargoBarbados, Bogota, Curaçao, Guatemala City, Lima, Panama City, Punta Cana
TranscargaBarbados, Curaçao
Vensecar InternationalAruba, Bogota, Curaçao, Panama City
View of the apron
Source: Kalen40

Other facilities

From 1960 to 1997, it was the main hub for Viasa, Venezuela’s former flag carrier until it went bankrupt. As well as it was the hub for Avensa, Servivensa. Conviasa started operation in 2004, hoping to become in a big and leader airline, and flag carrier. However, due to financial crisis in Venezuela, several pilots quit and are leaving Conviasa in order to fly to other nations like Turkey which operates the same type of aircraft. The headquarters of Conviasa is located on the airport grounds.

Accidents and incidents

Customs and immigration area
Source: Wilfredor

In popular culture

The airport is shown on the movie Menudo: La Película, when a pair of Menudo’s friends board a flight during the film’s final scenes. The airport is also shown in the 1975 French film “Le Sauvage” [Call me Savage, UK Title] starring Catherine Deneuve, Yves Montand Luigi Vannucchi and Tony Roberts, directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau, as several soap-opera and movie key scenes were filmed at the airport.

Source: wikipedia