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|Founded||1 November 1995|
|Commenced operations||1 March 1997|
|Ceased operations||26 April 2018|
|Hubs||Simón Bolívar International Airport|
Con calidez venezolana |
('with Venezuelan warmth')
SBA Airlines, C.A.|
|Headquarters||Caracas, Distrito Capital, Venezuela|
|Key people||Francisco González, President|
Santa Bárbara Airlines C.A, doing business as SBA Airlines and formerly as Santa Bárbara Airlines prior to 2008, was an airline with its headquarters on the third floor of the Edificio Tokay in Caracas, Venezuela. It operated scheduled domestic and international services. Its main base was Simón Bolívar International Airport, Maiquetía (Caracas).
The airline was established on 1 November 1995 and started operations on 1 March 1997. At March 2000, the airline had 80 employees and a fleet of three ATR42-300s to serve both a domestic and a regional network that consisted of Aruba, Barquisimeto, Barranquilla, Caracas, Coro, Curaçao, Las Piedras, Maracaibo, Mérida, Santa Barbara Zulia and Valencia. It wholly owned Islas Airways until September 2006, when Islas was sold to the Canary Islands company Grupo SOAC. Santa Barbara Airlines was rechristened as SBA Airlines in 2007 following the acquisition of the carrier by Aserca.
At first it only covered airline flights to Cabimas, Mérida, El Vigía and Santa Bárbara del Zulia. The route to Alberto Carnevali Airport in Mérida was diverted to El Vigía-Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo International Airport after the crash of Flight 518. Later, the airline took new destinations which covered the routes to Barquisimeto, Caracas, Cumaná, Las Piedras (Punto Fijo), San Antonio del Táchira and Valencia with a single overseas flight that covered the route Caracas - Oranjestad (Aruba).
In early 2009, a 245-seater Boeing 767-300ER was introduced into the fleet to replace a wet-leased aircraft of the same type, and Funchal and Madrid were incorporated into the international network (which already included Miami, Quito and Tenerife) in June the same year.
Later,[when?] the airline opened international routes from Caracas to Barranquilla, Quito, Lima, Lisboa, London, Madrid, Miami, New York, Santiago de Compostela, Orlando, Tenerife and Paris. The routes to New York City and Lima in the Americas, and Funchal, Lisboa, Madrid, Tenerife and Santiago de Compostela in Europe meanwhile ceased.
In late January 2018, the National Institute of Civil Aviation suspended SBA Airlines for 90 days citing the airline's impossibility to fulfil the schedules, amid the cancellation of some flights that left stranded passengers in Miami. At this time, the Caracas–Miami route was the only service the airline had available to book at its website. The airline ceased operations in April 2018 .
As of May 2017, the SBA Airlines fleet consisted of the following aircraft:
Over the years, SBA Airlines had operated the following aircraft types:
|McDonnell Douglas DC-10|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-82|
Accidents and incidents
On 21 February 2008 an ATR 42 turboprop airliner operating Flight 518 from Mérida to Caracas, went missing shortly after taking off. Forty-three passengers and a crew of three, including two pilots and one flight attendant, were reportedly on board at the time. The remains of the aircraft were found the following day in a mountain range approximately 10 kilometers north-east of Mérida at an altitude of 12,000 feet (3,700 m). No survivors were found. After the accident, the company started a new public relations program as well as a new marketing initiative, switching the airline's name to SBA Airlines.
- "Santa Bárbara Airlines informó oficialmente el cese de sus operaciones" [Santa Bárbara Airlines oficially announced it ceased operations]. El Nacional (in Spanish). 4 May 2018. Archived from the original on 4 May 2018.
- "English page." SBA Airlines
- "Oficinas." SBA Airlines. Retrieved on January 17, 2012. "Calle 3B, Edificio Tokay, Piso 3, La Urbina."
- "World airline directory–Santa Barbara Airlines". Flight International. 157 (4720): 100. 21–27 March 2000. ISSN 0015-3710. Archived from the original on 18 February 2000.
- Sobie, Brendan (16 June 2009). "SBA begins Latin expansion with 1 July Panama launch". Washington DC: Flightglobal. Air Transport Intelligence News. Archived from the original on 18 February 2018.
- Ruiz Parra, Catalina (30 January 2018). "Santa Bárbara Airlines no operará por 3 meses y es advertida sobre suspensión definitiva" [Santa Bárbara Airlines will not operate for three months and is warned about an indefinite suspension]. El Nuevo Herald (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 17 February 2018.
- "INAC suspendió a Santa Bárbara Airlines por 90 días" [INAC suspended Santa Bárbara Airlines for 90 days]. El Nacional (in Spanish). 30 January 2018. Archived from the original on 17 February 2018.
- "Nuestra Flota" [Our Fleet]. sbairlines.com (in Spanish). Santa Barbara Airlines C.A. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
Media related to Santa Barbara Airlines at Wikimedia Commons