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Nicaraguan Gov. Cancels Three Flights, Leaves Passengers Stranded

Government and private company do not provide any explanation; passenger paid US$150 for Covid test and no one is going to reimburse her

Two Avianca international flights bound for Nicaragua and another that would depart from the country for Panama were cancelled this weekend without the government authorities or those of the company explaining the reasons for the decision.

The airline published on its website that the cancellation of flights TA 450 and TA 451, whose landing was scheduled for Saturday at 9:10 am and 5:10 pm, respectively. The first would come from San Salvador and the other from Miami.

The vice president of the Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR), Carlos Schutze, who is president of the association of travel agencies, said that as private entities they have no information about the reasons for the flights cancellation from the Aeronautical authorities.

Confidencial wrote an email to Avianca, but until publication time but received no response.

Carlos Schutze said that, along with the two canceled flights, the same was done with a charter that would leave Managua for Panama. “Tickets were sold two or three weeks ago,” the official reasons for the cancellation being unknown. The affected company is one that makes this type of trip to Panama.

A female passenger on that Avianca flight, number 7413, scheduled to depart on Sunday, March 28 at 07:54 am, bound for Panama, said that she received last-minute information from the agency from which she bought her ticket on Saturday night.

“They canceled the charter flight. It was the Government that canceled it. We just take orders and they told us that the flight would not leave,” the travel agent told the passenger.

“I paid 150 dollars for a Covid-19 test to travel. No one is going to reimburse me. The agency told me that they were going to reimburse me for all the money, but later said no. For work reasons I must leave Nicaragua and I had not been able to get a ticket,” commented the affected party, who insisted: “I do not understand, because for no reason the Government won’t let us leave Nicaragua.”

Government requirements continue to block flights

For Schutze, the issue of Covid-19 tests in Nicaragua must be improved. Since August 4, 2020, the Civil Aeronautics Institute (INAC) ordered that passenger should present tests that show negative results at the time of boarding in the country of origin and disembarking in Nicaragua. That responsibility was left to the airlines. “The type of test requested by the Ministry of Health (MINSA) must be complied with and within a period of 72 hours,” says the state instruction.

“There are airlines that are complying with it and are doing the tests, and there are others such as those in the United States that cannot comply. Above all sending lists and Covid tests in advance, for some they are complicated because they have reduced staff. Airlines suggest that they should ease these things,” affirmed the private sector representative.

At least three international airlines have announced in recent weeks the postponement of the resumption of their flights to Nicaragua.

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