Hey, don't worry: the history of Avensa is quite complicated...
If I am wright "Aerovias Venezolanas SA - Avensa for short - began on 13 May 1943 as a freight airline of Venezuela by Venezuelan businessmen and Pan American Airways, who flew the services to this part of the world from United States.
They first used Ford Tri-Motors and Stinson Reliants.
After the war DC-3 Dakota's were added to the Avensa fleet and these were the backbone of the fleet until 1955 when Convair 340 twins were introduced for a new Miami service.
By the early 1960's the airline had set up an extensive domestic route network and it also flew internationally to Miami, Aruba, Jamaica and New Orleans.
It is right in 1960 that Avensa and Aeropostal (former LAV-Linea Aeropotal Venezolana) decided to merge their international routes and the resulting network was the basis for a new international Venezuelan airline: it was the beginning of Viasa (Venezolana Internacional de Aviacion Sociedad Anonima). I've been told that Avensa held a 45% holding in this new carrier.
By 1964 purchased jet equipment in the form of a single Sud Caravelle jet and two yaears later were introduced Turboprop aircraft purchaising Convair 580's.
I think that the DC9's came in early 70's (I am not sure).
Things changed drastically during the 1070 decade for the Venezuelan Civil Aviation.
In 1976 PanAm sold its 30% holding of Avensa to the Venezuelan Government and this one also made of the profitable Viasa a completely state owned company.
For the successive twenty years the fleet acquired new components. Were introduced Boeings 727 (100 and 200 version) and 737-200's jets while a fleet renewal program was set in motion at the end of the 1980's and new Boeing 737-300's were added.
The 1990's are the years of the financial crisis: two Boeing 757 (introduced during renewal program) couldn't be payed and went away.
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Photo © Frank Schaefer
Among its own crisis and economical problems of Venezuela, Avensa went on. Now it was owned 20% by the State, 43% by a private holding, and the rest to former workers.
When Viasa ceased its operations at the beginning of 1997, only Avensa (Aeropostal closed in 1994 to re-open in 1998 totally private) thought itself to be able to take Viasa routes. The court gave part of the Viasa international network to Avensa: Rome and Milan (Italy), Madrid and Santiago de Compostela ( Spain), Oporto and Lisbon (Portugal).
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Photo © Damiano GUALDONI
By late 1998 Avensa was already flying to Spain and by January 1999 to Italy with two leased DC10's known as YV-50C and YV-51C.
Fully perative during all 1999 it was forced to reduce European operations by two events: the Venezuelan flood in December 1999 (Maiquetia was force to close) and its financila problems.
In January 2000 the first DC10 went to Brazil for manteinance and did not came back, few months later the other DC10 followed the first one.
Flight to Europe were first resume to the important Caracas-Madrid route in November 2000 with a DC-10, the new livered YV-50C, promising expansion.
The expansion was about to come with the second DC-10 (YV-51C): by problems with Miami Airport Authority and BP flight to Europe were suspended again for a few days before this summer.
- Avensa is flying to Madrid and Santiago de Compostela, to Lisbon and Tenerife with two DC-10's. In America to Quito, Lima, Bogotà and Miami with Servivensa. In Venezuela to Porlamar (Isla Margarita) from Caracas and the route Barquisimeto-Maracaibo-Miami.
- I read on Venezuelan press that the Venezuelan Government has the intention to put 100 million $ in order to help Avensa.
- Thanks to the recent agreement, Avensa and Iberia will accepted their flights documents mutually starting from next month of September, fact that will impact their passengers and the travel agents and wholesalers of tourism very positively.
That means that the travel agents will be able to sell in tickets of Avensa, continuations to points in Spain and Europe, to those that Iberia flies.
Equally, Iberia will be able to sell in its flight documents, itineraries of Avensa in Venezuela and all the international routes of the Venezuelan airline (14th August 2001).
- It has just signed an interlinear agreement between Avensa and Santa Bárbara Airlines.
This includes the mutual acceptance of documents and combined rates. This agreement is already in validity, what allows the emission of tickets of Santa Bárbara Airlines to fly in national and international routes of Avensa and vice versa. (16th August 2001).