Airlines have for months struggled to repatriate revenue from ticket sales due to delays in the South American nation’s 11-year-old exchange controls, with trapped cash peaking at around US.1 billion over the summer.
In response, carriers reduced service over the course of the year.
“As of November 15 the total amount of airline money the Venezuela government is withholding is US.569 billion,” IATA’s corporate communications manager, Jason Sinclair, wrote in an emailed message, adding that the government has released USD5.7 million of airline funds so far this year.
Airlines had been selling tickets in the local bolivar currency, but had been unable to obtain dollars through the state currency agency to return the funds to their own headquarters.
“Most of the airlines have reduced considerably the number of tickets they sell in bolivars, essentially preventing more money being held by the Venezuelan government,” Sinclair wrote.