MIAMI, June 8 (Reuters) - Airlines have $3.7 billion of cash from ticket sales trapped in Venezuela because of currency controls in the South American country, the International Air Transport Association said on Monday.
“It’s the airlines’ money,” IATA Director General Tony Tyler told journalists on the sidelines of the association’s annual meeting in Miami.
“We recognise the country is in a difficult situation and doesn’t have a lot of money to spare, but we do want the government to sit down with the industry,” and address the long-running issue, Tyler said.
Carriers such as American Airlines, Delta Air Lines Inc and Lufthansa have cut capacity and limited sales. Tyler said airlines have stopped selling in bolivars and are only selling tickets in U.S. dollars.
IATA is calling on the government to establish a single exchange rate for the sale of tickets and the payment of airline fees, as well as work on a payment schedule.
At one stage last year, more than $4.1 billion was trapped in Venezuela, but the government released some money last year. Tyler said, however, that no remittances have been made this year. (Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Grant McCool)