Following a study by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) into the safety and security risks associated with serving Venezuela, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has now formally banned all commercial passenger and cargo flights between the troubled South American state and the United States and v.v.

Previously, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had effectively barred US civil flight operations to/from Venezuela by prohibiting US carriers from flying in the territory and airspace of Venezuela at altitudes below 26,000 feet.

In a follow-up statement on Wednesday, May 15, the DOT said the DHS study had concluded that “conditions in Venezuela threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew travelling to or from that country, and that the public interest requires an immediate suspension of all commercial passenger and cargo flights between the United States and Venezuela."

As such, effectively immediately, Transport Secretary Elaine Chao has now suspended the authority of all US and foreign air carriers to provide passenger and/or cargo flights to/from Venezuela.

"Specifically, I am adding a condition to all U.S. air carrier certificates and exemptions, as well as all foreign air carrier permits and exemptions, so as to preclude these U.S. air carriers and foreign air carriers from operating to or from Venezuelan airports," she said.

The move is a severe blow to Venezuela's passenger and cargo carriers many of which rely on the US market as a key source of revenue given the large Venezuelan diaspora resident in areas such as Florida.

Affected US and Venezuelan carriers include:

Laser Airlines has previously said it would try to circumvent the ban by flying its passengers to a neutral transit point such as Santo Domingo Las Américas or Aruba where they would then board an onward flight to the US operated by partner Swift Air (United States of America).