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Venezuela Agrees to Pay Airlines the Billions They're Owed

Maduro
MaduroPhotograph by Fernando Llano/AP Photo

In a battle of ideology vs. air service, airlines just scored a win in Venezuela. The government of President Nicolás Maduro agreed on Friday to make enough dollars available so international carriers could repatriate $3.8 billion, which they’ve been unable to do amid a shortage of greenbacks in the nation.

The airlines’ boxed-up funds are from ticket sales they made in 2012 and 2013 in Venezuela, which requires that the sales be conducted in bolivars. The process of gaining approval to convert the sales to dollars and repatriate the money ground to a halt last year. The government said on Friday that the currency transactions will be made at the rate in effect when the tickets were sold—a major victory for airlines.