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>> Venezuela's domestic airline industry is in freefall. The nation's airlines are struggling to maintain operations due to hyper-inflation and shortages of available spare parts, a direct result of the country's crippling years-long economic crisis. The outcome for passengers, it's now nearly impossible to obtain tickets for domestic travel. And those who manage to get their hands on some, can expect chronic flight delays at the airport.
The Venezuelan Air Industry Association, known as Ceveta, said the domestic air fleet has shrunk 80% since 2014. Today, it has only 20 functioning aircrafts. Critics of President Nicolas Maduro says the problems are the result of the government's currency and price controls. The government fixes ticket prices in the local bolivar.
Flights generally cost about half the price of a taxi ride to the airport, but getting hold of tickets usually requires buying them from intermediaries for more than double their listing price. The currency controls have also left domestic airlines unable to obtain US dollars to purchase replacement parts abroad.
International airlines have not stepped in to fill the void. Many left Venezuela in 2016 after years of operating in what was once one of Latin America's richest countries. The dire situation has left Venezuelan's struggling to travel to visit relatives or to receive crucial medical treatment.