The new Venezuelan state airline Conviasa, created with an initial
investment 10 million U$, will begin its operations in January, with flights
to South America and the Caribbean. Wilmar Castro, minister of Production
and Commerce, announced that Conviasa would begin with flights to nations of
the Andean Community, the Caribbean, and the South Cone (Argentina, Uruguay,
and Chile) during the first half of January of 2005, with four rented
737-700 planes, manufactured by Boeing BA.N, a United States firm.

During a ceremony at the Air Force, president Hugo Chávez pointed out that,
"with this airline, that will continue to grow within the country, in the
Caribbean, in South America, and beyond, Venezuela once again has its
national airline"

Conviasa, created to promote tourism, will be financed with surplus oil
incomes. The former Venezuelan state airline, Viasa halted its operations in
1997 after it was privatized and sold to the Spanish transnational Iberia,
that eventually closed all of its operations.

Castro pointed out that this new airline would begin flights to Europe as of
June of 2005, with two Boeing 767, and added that Conviasa would form an
initial fleet of twelve aircraft for domestic and international flights.
The new Venezuelan national airline made its first presentation flight at
the end of the celebration ceremony of the 84th anniversary of the
Venezuelan Air Force.

Castro informed that the investment by the Venezuelan state for the
activation of this airline would be gradually allocated, and that the first
phase of equipment of the aircraft should conclude by the end of 2004.
Conviasa will initiate its formal activities with a 48-employee payroll,
including crews and mechanics. And as the airline begins full operation,
this payroll is expected to increase to a total of 85 employees, with the
inclusion of personnel for station maintenance and attention to the client.
Castro also informed that the new company would generate direct and indirect
employment through travel agencies.

Published in Quantum N.45