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There were no mid-air explosions, no charred wreckage, no body bags. Yet the tailspin of Viasa, Venezuela's flagship carrier, was an airline disaster all the same. Thousands of passengers worldwide were stranded when Viasa was grounded in late January. A month later, citing mismanagement, labor unrest and debts of US$150 million, shareholders declared bankruptcy and issued pink slips to 2,250 employees, thus closing the 37-year-old airline for good. "Debts are larger than we thought, and there is no sense in putting anymore money into it," says Venezuelan Planning Minister Teodoro Petkoff. In Caracas, pilots, flight attendants and mechanics protested outside Viasa headquarters. Meanwhile, across the ocean to Madrid, Iberia watched its seven-year effort to become a global flying power crash with Viasa.
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Publication:Latin Trade
Date:May 1, 2007
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