Technically Avensa still exists, with a single Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia aircraft keeping the name alive. But for all intents and purposes the company is defunct. Around Venezuela's airports, Avensa relics can be seen everywhere: old check-in signs, rusted luggage carts, derelict airplane stairways, the name still visible through cracked blue paint.
Avensa was created on May 13, 1943 as a cargo airline by Venezuelan businessman, Andres Boulton Pietri, and Pan American World Airways. Their first flights occurred in December 1943, flying cargo to Venezuela's oil-rich Carteru region with Ford Trimotor and Stinson Reliants. By 1944, Avensa had started passenger flights with Lockheed 10A twins. After World War II, DC-3 Dakotas were added to the fleet. These were the backbone of the fleet until 1955 when Convair 340 twins were introduced for a new service to Miami. Avensa had set up an extensive domestic route network by the beginning of the 1960s. The airline also flew internationally to Miami, Aruba, Jamaica, and New Orleans. Avensa merged its international routes with the international routes of LAV (Aeropostal) and the resulting network was the basis for a new international Venezuelan airline called Viasa. Avensa held a 45% holding in this new carrier. Avensa purchased jet equipment in the form of a single Sud Caravelle jet in 1964. Turboprop aircraft were introduced in 1966 when the airline purchased Convair 580s. Douglas DC9s were also introduced to give the airline a more competitive edge. Pan Am sold its 30% holding of Avensa to the Venezuelan government in 1976, making it completely state-owned. Later, Avensa introduced Boeing 727-100 and 727-200 jets. A couple of Boeing 737-200s were later introduced. A fleet renewal program was set in motion at the end of the 1980s and new Boeing 737-300s were added. Boeing 757s were also introduced as part of the renewal program. These new aircraft were returned during the 1990s when Avensa flew into financial difficulties and had to make cut backs. This left the fleet with 11 aging Boeing 727s, 5 Douglas DC9s and a couple of Boeing 737-200s at the end of the 1990s. Avensa overtook many of the international routes formerly flown by Viasa after that airline collapsed in 1997. Avensa operated a smaller low-cost airline called Servivensa, which operated mainly Boeing 727 aircraft. Avensa is currently serving only a domestic network of three cities as they attempt to re-structure due to continuing financial difficulties.
At one time it had its headquarters in the now Caracas City Government's owned Torre El Chorro in Caracas downtown, and in the Torre Humboldt complex in East Caracas.
Before ceasing operations Avensa had a fleet of Douglas DC-9, DC-10, Boeing 727, and 737-200. After ceasing operations two Boeings 727-200 were leased to Santa Barbara Airlines, as well as both DC-10s. The rest of the fleet was derelict and scrapped in 2007.