Venezuela to pay Colombian airline Avianca 4 pct of currency debt

BOGOTA Wed May 28, 2014 11:24am EDT

BOGOTA May 28 (Reuters) - Venezuela has agreed to release $12 million to Colombian airline Avianca, equivalent to 4 percent of the unrepatriated revenue trapped in Venezuela because of currency controls, the company said on Wednesday.

Socialist President Nicolas Maduro's government requires airlines to sell tickets in bolivar currency but has been slow to allow them to repatriate the earnings.

Avianca has accumulated the equivalent of more than $300 million in ticket sales in Venezuela that it has been unable to convert into dollars, a company spokeswoman said.

The International Air Transport Association in recent months has said its members have close to $4 billion trapped by the Venezuelan currency controls.

Venezuela's government on Monday said it made pending dollar disbursements to six other international airlines, without specifying the amounts. (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb and Luis Jaime Acosta; Editing by Paul Simao)

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