Venezuelan Airline Takes On an Airbus A380 Despite Country’s Reduced Air Operations
Amid food shortages, widespread blackouts and politically motivated violence in the country, a Venezuelan airline made the decision to expand its fleet. According to a post on the airline’s Facebook page, Estelar Latinoamerica received a leased Airbus A380 on Sunday to replace its A340, which is currently undergoing maintenance. Though Venezuela’s economy is in shambles, Estelar plans to fly passengers from Caracas to destinations in Europe and South America.
Estelar Latinoamerica, founded in 2009, is just one of a handful of airlines based in Venezuela still operating regularly-scheduled commercial flights. The airline serves just 11 destinations with a fleet of seven aircraft, consisting primarily of older model Boeing 737s, including three Boeing 737-200s and three Boeing 737-300s. Beginning in 2017, the airline launched nonstop flights to Europe using a leased Airbus A340. However, Estelar’s fleet just got a lot bigger with the arrival of a leased Airbus A380.
According to One Mile At A Time, Estelar Latinoamerica’s leased Airbus A340 is currently undergoing maintenance. To prevent any service disruptions, Estelar took delivery of the Airbus A380 — the largest passenger jet ever built — to accommodate passengers on the airline’s long-haul flights. Like the airline’s Airbus A340, the Airbus A380 is leased from Hi Fly Malta.
For the next 15 days, Estelar Latinoamerica will operate its leased Airbus A380 on the following routes:
- Caracas (CCS) to Madrid (MAD) | Esterlar ES895 | Tuesday and Saturday
- Caracas (CCS) to Buenos Aires (EZE) | Esterlar ES8569 | Sunday and Wednesday
The airline’s flights to Madrid and Buenos Aires had been operated with leased Airbus A340, while recent flights to Rome from Caracas had been canceled. Effective immediately, all flights to Madrid and Buenos Aires will be operated using the Airbus A380, while flights to Rome appear to be suspended.
As for the onboard experience and classes of service offered on Estelar’s Airbus A380, One Mile At A Time is reporting that only one of the two passenger decks will be used. Twitter user Enrique77W also shared that only the bottom deck will be used on Estelar’s flights.
The A380, which bears the registration 9H-MIP, features the cabin configuration of its former operator, Singapore Airlines. The lower deck of the aircraft features 399 economy class seats and 12 first-class suites. With the upper deck blocked off, the airline will not be using the 60 business class seats onboard the aircraft.
Should one be inclined to experience Estelar’s Airbus A380 service, tickets are available from Caracas to Buenos Aires in economy class from $820 and $928 in business class. Airbus A340 service is expected to resume in 15 days following maintenance.
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Featured image by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
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