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Chartered Venezuelan Boeing 737 Stuck In Cuba After Argentinian Authorities Deny Departure

SimpleFlying logo SimpleFlying 6/24/2022 Daniel Martínez Garbuno
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Nearly 200 hundred Argentinian citizens are currently stranded in Havana, Cuba after the Argentine government denied a departure from a leased Venezuelan Boeing 737-300 that was set to operate a flight on behalf of the Cuban State carrier, Cubana de Aviación. How did we come to this? Let’s find out.

An unexpected twist of events

Since June 6, a Venezuelan Boeing 747-300M has been stuck at Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The aircraft, owned by Venezuela’s State carrier Conviasa, through its cargo branch Emtrasur, is at the center of a political drama that includes Argentina, Venezuela, Iran, the United States, and Israel. You can read more here.

In an unexpected twist of events, this Emtrasur drama led to nearly 200 Argentine tourists being stranded in Havana, Cuba.

According to local reports, these tourists were supposed to fly back to Argentina onboard a flight operated by Cubana de Aviación. Due to the current state of Cubana de Aviación, the Cuban State carrier leased a Boeing 737-300 aircraft from Estelar, a Caracas-based company.

The Boeing 737-300, registration YV630T, operated the flight between Ezeiza and Havana on June 11. Nonetheless, following the increased tensions in Argentina over Emtrasur’s Boeing 747, the local authorities denied Cubana and Estelar the necessary permissions to operate the return flight.

On July 6, an Emtrasur Boeing 747-300M landed in Buenos Aires and has been involved in a geopolitical drama ever since. Photo: Getty Images.

Stranded until further notice

Cubana de Aviación has had to cancel its scheduled flights for June 14, 16, and 18 so far. This has led to the increase of Argentine tourists currently stranded in Havana without information on when they will be able to leave the country.

According to information by El Clarín, Cubana de Aviación is currently paying the extra nights for the stranded tourists.

Cubana de Aviacion’s director in Varadero, recently said,

“Cubana de Aviación is canceling its flight to Buenos Aires scheduled to be operated on Saturday, June 18 at 3:25 am local time because, at least until the time we are writing this e-mail at around 17:32, we have not obtained the operational permits and we have been denied refueling for the leased aircraft owned by Estelar.”

Estelar is a Venezuelan carrier that operates a fleet composed of five aircraft, according to its website. It has one Boeing 737-200 (capacity to carry 118 passengers), three Boeing 737-300s (148 passengers), and one Airbus A340-300 (267 passengers).

Cubana de Aviación had to charter a Boeing 737-300 from Venezuelan carrier Estelar. Photo: Getty Images.

Stranded in Argentina

Not only 200 Argentinians are currently stuck in Cuba. According to local media outlets, approximately 200 Venezuelans are currently stranded in Argentina as well.

These Venezuelan citizens were supposed to leave the country onboard a Conviasa aircraft, but the crew diverted it to Bolivia under the suspicion that the jetliner could be seized upon landing in Buenos Aires due to its links with the Iranian regime.

All of these developments are direct consequences of the controversy surrounding Emtrasur’s Boeing 747-300, which landed in Buenos Aires on June 6 after departing from Mexico, making a stopover in Venezuela and an unscheduled diversion to Córdoba, Argentina.

The cargo aircraft reportedly carried car parts and has been held at Ezeiza since that day. Onboard the flight were 19 cabin crew members, 14 Venezuelan citizens, and five Iranian citizens. This large number of crew members and the fact that five of them were from Iran raised the alarms in Argentina.

Some politicians pointed out the arrival of Emtrasur’s Boeing 747 and its links to Iran and possibly the Quds Force were anomalous and suspicious. Prior to be operated by Emtrasur, this Boeing 747-300, registration YV3531, flew with Mahan Air.

What do you think about this geopolitical mess? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: El Clarín.

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