Avensa (Aerovías Venezolanas Sociedad Anonima) was a Venezuelan airline headquartered in Caracas.[1] It was in the process[when?] of financial restructuring, after it went into bankruptcy due to poor management in 2002, with Santa Barbara Airlines taking over its routes, although a single Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia continued to carry the Avensa name in service until it was grounded for good in 2004. Avensa operated from its hub at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maiquetía.

Avensa (Aerovías Venezolanas Sociedad Anónima)
Avensa Air Ways Logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
VE AVE AVENSA
FoundedMay 13, 1943
Ceased operationsDecember 31, 2004
HubsSimon Bolivar International Airport
SubsidiariesServivensa
Fleet size37
Destinations41
HeadquartersCaracas, Venezuela
Websiteavensa.com.ve

Even though the airline ceased operations more than a decade ago, around Venezuela's airports, Avensa relics can be seen everywhere: old check-in signs, rusted luggage carts, derelict airplane stairways, the name still visible through cracked blue paint around Venezuela's airports.[2]

Although Avensa was reported to be in the process of economical restructuring, as of 2020, the airline has not been able to return to the skies.

HistoryEdit

Avensa was created on May 13, 1943, as a cargo airline by the Venezuelan businessman, Andres Boulton Pietri, and Pan American World Airways. Its first flights occurred in December 1943, flying cargo to Venezuela's oil-rich Carteru region with Ford Trimotors and Stinson Reliants. By 1944, Avensa had started passenger flights with Lockheed 10A twins.

After World War II, DC-3 Dakotas were added to the fleet. These were the backbone of the fleet until 1955 when Convair 340 twins were introduced for a new service to Miami. Avensa had set up an extensive domestic route network by the beginning of the 1960s. The airline also flew internationally to Miami, Aruba, Jamaica and New Orleans.

Avensa merged its international routes with the international routes of LAV (Aeropostal) and the resulting network was the basis for a new international Venezuelan airline called Viasa, in which Avensa had a 45% holding. Avensa purchased jet equipment in the form of a single Sud Caravelle jet in 1964. Turboprop aircraft were introduced in 1966 when the airline purchased Convair 580s. McDonnell Douglas DC-9 jets were then introduced to give the airline a more competitive edge. Pan Am sold its 30% holding of Avensa to the Venezuelan government in 1976, making it completely state-owned.

Later, Avensa introduced Boeing 727-100 and 727-200 jets. Two Boeing 737-200s were later introduced. A fleet renewal program was set in motion at the end of the 1980s and new Boeing 737-200s were added. Two Boeing 757-200s were also introduced as part of the renewal program. These new aircraft were returned during the 1990s when Avensa fell into financial difficulties and had to make cut backs. This left the fleet with eleven aging Boeing 727s, five Douglas DC9s and two Boeing 737-200s at the end of the 1990s.

Avensa took over many of the international routes formerly flown by Viasa after that airline collapsed in 1997. During the late 1990s, Avensa was operating wide body McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 flights to Europe including service to Lisbon, London, Madrid, Paris, Rome and Tenerife.[3] Avensa also controlled a smaller low-cost airline called Servivensa, which primarily operated Boeing 727 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9 jet aircraft. Avensa later[when?] served only a domestic network of three cities as it attempted to reestablish services during a time of continuing financial difficulties.

At one time it had its headquarters in the now Caracas City Government owned Torre El Chorro in Caracas, and in the Torre Humboldt complex in East Caracas.[4]

DestinationsEdit

 
An Avensa Boeing 727-100 taxiing at Miami International Airport in 1990

This is the list of places to which Avensa flew:

DomesticEdit

InternationalEdit

FleetEdit

Over the years,Avensa had operated the following aircraft:[5][6]

Avensa fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Boeing 727-100 11 1982 2002
Boeing 727-200 13 1979 2002
Boeing 737-200 3 1991 2002
Boeing 737-300 1 1989 1996 Transferred to America West Airlines
Boeing 757-200 2 1990 1994
Convair CV-340 5 1954 1977
Convair CV-440 3 1963 1977
Convair CV-540 1 1963 1979
Convair CV-580 10 1964 1991
Curtiss C-46 Commando 4 1944 1946
Douglas C-47 Skytrain 19 1946 1972
Douglas C-54 Skymaster 4 1948 1955
Douglas DC-2 5 1944 1946
Douglas DC-3 11 1947 1973
Douglas DC-6B 2 1958 1964
Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia 1 2002 2004
Fairchild F-27 5 1958 1963
Ford Trimotor 2 1943 1946
Lockheed Model 10 Electra 1 Un­known Un­known
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-14 4 1967 1983
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-15 2 1975 1978 Leased from McDonnell Douglas
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31 1 1991 1996
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 7 1976 1985
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 4 1991 1999
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 3 1998 2002
Sud Aviation Caravelle 1 1970 1973 Written off


Accidents and incidentsEdit

  • On November 27, 1961, a Douglas DC-6B was hijacked by five armed students who forced the pilot to circle around Caracas while they dropped anti-Government leaflets on the city. After that, the crew was forced to fly them to Curaçao.[7]
  • On November 28, 1963, a Convair CV-440 (registered YV-C-AVH) was hijacked by six young rebels armed with machineguns shortly after it took off from Ciudad Bolívar. They forced the crew to circle around the city while they dropped leaflets. They were later demanded to be flown to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago where they surrendered.[9]
  • On December 22, 1974, Avensa Flight 358 crashed in Maturín, shortly after take off due to a double engine failure. 77 passengers and crew were killed.[12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 21–27 March 2000. 71. "Avenida Universidad, Caracas, 101, Venezuela."
  2. ^ BootsnAll Travel Archived 15 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 7 April 2007
  3. ^ https://www.airliners.net, photos of Avensa DC-10 aircraft in Europe
  4. ^ "Contactos". Avensa. 3 February 2004. Retrieved 30 January 2011. "DIRECCIÓN Torre Humboldt, P25 (P1) Av. Rio Caura Prados del Este Caracas Venezuela"
  5. ^ "AVENSA Fleet Details and History". Planespotters.net. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  6. ^ "Avensa fleet". aerobernie.bplaced.net. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  7. ^ "Hijacking description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  8. ^ Accident description. Aviation Safety Network. 1974.
  9. ^ "Hijacking description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  10. ^ Hijacking description at the Aviation Safety Network
  11. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  12. ^ ASN Aircraft accident, Sunday 22 December 1974, Retrieved 12 December 2015
  13. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 1 October 2010.

External linksEdit