Venezuela’s Transcarga suffers U.S. DOT Setback

The American Department of Transport (DOT) has shattered Transcarga International Airways hopes of operating extra bilateral cargo flights between Venezuela and the United States by rejecting the carrier’s application.

Transcarga is banned from flying into the U.S. Displayed here is one of their three A300-B4 freighters - company courtesy
Transcarga is banned from flying into the U.S. Displayed here is one of their three A300-B4 freighters - company courtesy

Transcarga founded in 1998
The all-cargo airline which is based in Caracas was founded in 1998 and actually only started operations in 2001 with a small fleet of regional cargo aircraft.
Founder, and today’s CEO, was Julio Marquez Biaggi, a wealthy Venezuelan businessman who also was once a pilot who flew for the now defunct Venezuelan national carrier, VIASA, as well as for KLM.
Transcarga was granted a so called ‘402 Permit’ by the United States DOT in 2002 which allows it to operate on routes to and from the USA under wet lease conditions.

The fleet now totals twelve aircraft of which nine are smaller regional types such made up of Piper, Embraer and Metroliner aircraft.
The long-haul fleet consists of three elderly Airbus A300-B4 freighters which are used on charter operations into the USA.

Transcarga wants to expand its USA operations
It was in June of last year that the airline made its original application to the American DOT, requesting permission to operate additional charters from Venezuela to San Juan, New York, Miami and Houston during the second half of 2016 and up to the end of January this year.
Transcarga faces plenty of competition from U.S. carriers and it was reported that Centurion Air Cargo and Amerijet objected strongly to the Venezuelan carrier’s application.
The objection was raised apparently due to U.S. carriers stating that the Venezuelan government was discriminating against U.S. cargo carriers in favour of their own airlines.

It is said that the DOT carried out their own investigation regarding the U.S. airlines objections and requested information and support from their Venezuelan colleagues.
This support, according to the DOT, was not forthcoming and no information was received by the deadline of end October last year by the DOT.

Discussions have been going on since, but to no avail.
The U.S. DOT did however issue Transcarga rights to operate for two weeks in November 2016 whilst negotiations were still in effect.
The final rejection for Transcarga came at the start of this year as the DOT finally stated that there was not sufficient evidence submitted by their Venezuelan counterparts and that the decision reached in October of last year stands.
The U.S. authorities have left the door open for future traffic rights submissions by Transcarga, but emphasizes that these will only be looked at when sufficient information is available on reciprocity for U.S. carriers.

The Venezuelan carrier’s management is not at all happy with this decision and claim that it has nothing to do with whether U.S. carriers get the same rights, but rather pure commercial U.S. interests on the part of U.S. cargo carriers, whom they claim have more than sufficient traffic rights into their country.

Will we see more of this in the future with the new U.S. administration?

John Mc Donagh

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