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|Ceased operations||2002 (airline)|
|Hubs||Simon Bolivar International Airport|
Avensa (Aerovías Venezolanas Sociedad Anonima) was a Venezuelan airline headquartered in Caracas. It was in the process[when?] of financial restructuring, after it went into bankruptcy due to poor management in 2002, with Santa Barbara Airlines taking over its routes, although a single Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia continued to carry the Avensa name in service until it was grounded for good in 2004. Avensa operated from its hub at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maiquetía.
Even though the airline ceased operations more than a decade ago, 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 around Venezuela's airports.
Although Avensa was reported to be in the process of economical restructuring, as of 2017, the airline has not been able to return to the skies.
Avensa was created on 13 May 1943, as a cargo airline by the Venezuelan businessman, Andres Boulton Pietri, and Pan American World Airways. Its first flights occurred in December 1943, flying cargo to Venezuela's oil-rich Carteru region with Ford Trimotors 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, in which Avensa had a 45% holding. 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. Two 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 fell into financial difficulties and had to make cut backs. This left the fleet with eleven aging Boeing 727s, five Douglas DC9s and two Boeing 737-200s at the end of the 1990s. Avensa took over 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 later[when?] served only a domestic network of three cities as it attempted to reestablish services during a time of continuing financial difficulties.
This is the list of places to which Avensa flew:
- Ciudad Bolivar
- La Fría
- Las Piedras
- Puerto Ordaz
- San Antonio del Táchira
- Santa Bárbara del Zulia
- San Tomé
- Bogota, Colombia
- Lima, Peru
- Lisbon, Portugal
- London, UK
- Madrid, Spain
- Medellin, Colombia
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Miami, USA
- Milan, Italy
- New York City
- New Orleans, USA
- Oporto, Portugal
- Panama City, Panama
- Paris, France
- Quito, Ecuador
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Rome, Italy
- Santiago del Compostela. Spain
- São Paulo, Brazil
- Tenerife, Spain
Before ceasing operations Avensa had a fleet of McDonnell Douglas DC-9, DC-10, Boeing 727 and 737-200 aircraft. 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.
Their fleet comprised:
|McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30||3|
|McDonnell Douglas DC-9-50||2|
|Beech King 90||4|
Incidents and accidents
- On 25 February 1962, a Fairchild F-27 crashed into a mountain on departure from Margarita Island, with 23 on board killed.
- On 21 March 1968, an Avensa Convair CV-440 was hijacked to Cuba by three passengers.
- On 22 December 1974, Avensa Flight 358 Douglas DC-9-14 crashed in Maturín, Venezuela, shortly after take off due to a double engine failure. 77 passengers and crew were killed.
- 11 March 1983 a Douglas DC-9 crashed at Barquisimeto Airport. 22 passengers and one crew were killed.
- "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 21–27 March 2000. 71. "Avenida Universidad, Caracas, 101, Venezuela."
- BootsnAll Travel Archived 15 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 7 April 2007
- "Contactos". Avensa. 3 February 2004. Retrieved 30 January 2011. "DIRECCIÓN Torre Humboldt, P25 (P1) Av. Rio Caura Prados del Este Caracas Venezuela"
- World Accident Summary. Civil Aviation Authority (United Kingdom). 1974. ISBN 0-903083-44-2.
- Hijacking description at the Aviation Safety Network
- ASN Aircraft accident, Sunday 22 December 1974, Retrieved 12 December 2015
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Avensa.|