In socialist Venezuela, air travel becomes a white-knuckle affair

"Socialism or death" is taking on a new meaning for Venezuelan air travelers. Recently, a spate of incidents and emergency landings by some of Venezuela's domestic air carriers -- including two emergency landings occurring hours apart -- prompted Hugo Chavez's government to open an inquiry concerning the causes of the latest in-flight emergencies. In one incident, an Aeropostal DC-9 carrying 125 passengers reported problems with both engines. It made a hard landing in Puerto Ordaz. Photos of the DC-9 and its damaged engines -- both torn loose and hanging from the fuselage -- may be seen at The Aviation Herald and Noticas 24. In another incident, an Acerca Airlines DC-9 carrying 90 passengers made an emergency landing at Carlos Piar airport after smoke was detected in the cabin. No injuries were reported during either incident involving the aging DC-9s. These incidents and others have raised the usual questions about maintenance standards. But other...(Read Full Post)