“On an exceptional basis, only commercial air operations are authorised for the transport of passengers between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the countries of Turkey, Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Russia, Cuba and Spain”, says a statement released by the Venezuelan Civil Aeronautics Institute (INAC).

Diplomatic sources told Lusa that Venezuela maintains restrictions on air operations between Lisbon and Caracas and that “despite the conviction that there could be some flexibility, there is nothing new in this regard”.

On December 12, the Portuguese ambassador to Caracas, Carlos de Sousa Amaro, complained that Venezuela has not responded to requests for authorisation for TAP to carry out humanitarian flights between Caracas and Lisbon, despite having authorised other companies.

“We, TAP and our embassy on behalf of TAP, placed an order for two humanitarian flights in December and two humanitarian flights in January. The first flight of the month of December would have left today [12 December]. Unfortunately, it did not take place because the Venezuelan authorities have not yet given us an answer, despite the insistence and requests that we have made to allow these flights,” Carlos de Sousa Amaro told Lusa.

In 2020, Portugal repatriated more than 1,200 Portuguese, in five flights, three of them carried out by TAP.