MIAMI – Venezuela-based Laser Airlines (QL) has applied for authority to begin US flights. Specifically, the airline plans to launch flights from Caracas (CCS), Valencia (VLN), and Maracaibo (MAR) in Venezuela to Miami, Florida (MIA).
In October 2011, QL applied to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) in hopes of gaining permission to operate flights between Venezuela and the United States. The carrier originally applied to serve Fort Lauderdale (FLL) from Caracas with scheduled passenger flights. Additionally, QL applied to operate charter flights from Valencia (VLN) and Margarita Island (PMV) to FLL. However, the DOT never responded to QL’s initial application.
Laser Airlines has therefore decided to reapply for authority to begin US flights. On February 4, 2021, the airline submitted its application to the DOT, stating it “remains committed to serving the United States market.” QL now pursues scheduled and charter flights to Miami from the three aforementioned Venezuelan destinations.
If QL intends to commence US flights in the near future, it must be with aircraft registered in the United States as Venezuela currently has a Category 2 rating assigned by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Past Service between Venezuela and the United States
Laser Airlines has previously offered flights to the United States in partnership with other airlines. Because the Venezuelan carrier has not received a permit to operate US flights, it instead chose to cooperate with airlines based in the US, such as Swift Air (WT) and World Atlantic Airlines (WL). These US airlines operated routes such as Caracas to Miami on behalf of QL.
When the FAA suspended all flights between the US and Venezuela in May 2019, QL chose to modify its Caracas to Miami route. The airline operated a flight from CCS to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (SDQ) using its own aircraft. From there, WT transported the passengers to Miami using its Boeing 737s.
Unfortunately, due to tensions, flights between the US and Venezuela have decreased over the past decade. American Airlines (AA) was the last major US carrier to serve Venezuela after ending flights from Miami to Caracas and Maracaibo in early 2019.
Featured Image: Laser Airlines YV2927 McDonnell Douglas MD-82. Photo: Fabrizio Spicuglia – @Fsspotter1
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