Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has signed a decree wherein the state-owned oil and gas company PDVSA must sell its products using the petro, a cryptocurrency launched by the government of Venezuela in February 2018.

The digital asset, which is not available at virtual exchange houses besides bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to assess its current value and is vetoed by the United States, is intended to supplement the country's plummeting bolívar fuerte currency, dodging US sanctions while accessing international financing. Hyperinflation has rendered the bolívar practically worthless.

“I decree that the sale of all fuel sold by the PDVSA for planes operating international routes be made in petros from now on,” Maduro declared, according to the news agency AFP.

According to the ch-aviation capacities module, Copa Airlines has the largest number of international frequencies to Venezuela of any airline, with routes from Panamá City Tocumen Int'l to Caracas Simón Bolivar (21x weekly), Valencia Arturo Michelena Int'l (7x weekly), and Maracaibo (5x weekly).

Other carriers that currently operate to Caracas and will be affected by the decree include Iberia, which flies from Madrid Barajas both direct (3x weekly) and via Bogotá (7x weekly), Turkish Airlines from Istanbul New both direct (2x weekly) and via Havana Int'l (3x weekly), Air France from Paris CDG (5x weekly), Plus Ultra Líneas Aéreas from both Madrid (2x weekly) and Tenerife Norte (1x weekly), Air Europa from Madrid (3x weekly), TAP Air Portugal from Lisbon (2x weekly), and Caribbean Airlines from Port of Spain (1x weekly).

Cubana also flies to Caracas, from Havana, 1x weekly, but it is unclear whether it too will be subjected to having to pay for fuel in petros. Neither is it clear whether the rules also apply to Venezuelan carriers.

Maduro's idea of ​​forcing foreign airlines to pay by petro is not new. He made a similar announcement in 2018 but did not succeed. That attempt was described as an "exploration mechanism" to sound out industry interest.