Venezuela’s government has closed its airspace to all Argentinian-registered aircraft in retaliation against Argentina’s involvement in the seizure, delivery to the United States Department of Justice, and scrapping of B747-300M YV3531 (msn 23413), formerly operated by Emtrasur Cargo (Caracas Simón Bolivar).

The decision was made by the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro, and was backed by the country’s parliament, said Pedro Infante, vice president at the nation’s assembly. The closure will last “until our company is duly compensated for the damages caused,” he added.

A spokesperson for the Argentinian government said the country would not be extorted by friends of terrorism and that it had initiated diplomatic measures against Venezuela.

Aerolíneas Argentinas (AR, Buenos Aires Jorge Newbery) confirmed to ch-aviation it has been forced to reroute some of its flights to avoid Venezuelan airspace; however, there has been no impact on its schedules. According to Flightradar24 ADS-B data, its flights from Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini (Ezeiza) to Punta Cana and New York JFK flew over Venezuela but in recent days the New York service has been rerouted over Colombian airspace, while the service to Punta Cana transits Guyana’s Esequibo region, which is, coincidentally, claimed by the Venezuelan government.

YV3531 was detained in Argentina on June 6, 2022. The United States later issued a seizure warrant for the aircraft, alleging that it was transferred from Mahan Air (W5, Tehran Mehrabad) to Emtrasur Cargo, a now-dormant subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned Conviasa (V0, Caracas Simón Bolivar), in violation of US sanctions. After a lengthy legal procedure in Argentina, the B747 was ferried from Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini to Miami Dade-Collier on February 12, 2024, where it was dismantled.

The release of the aircraft to the US authorities was made possible after the recent change of power in Argentina wherein Pro-US president Javier Milei took over from the more Venezuela-friendly Alberto Fernández.

ch-aviation has asked Venezuela's civil aviation authority (INAC) for comment.