It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Nicaragua Airways?

Blue Panorama is going to start weekly flights from Rome to Managua on July 11, but the government won’t talk about it

Nicaragua Airways, in alliance with Italian air carrier Blue Panorama, will celebrate its inaugural flight (Rome-Havana-Managua-Rome) tomorrow, July 11, according to the Sandinista government’s media sites.

The only question is: What, pray tell, is Nicaragua Airways?

The aspiring airline was first mentioned in a private Sandinista “press conference” offered last month by the president’s son, Laureano Ortega, a celebrated opera singer who holds some sort of job as liaison between ProNicaragua and the Nicaraguan Tourism Board (INTUR). Independent media outlets were not invited to the press conference, and Sandinista reporters were perhaps too busy nodding to inquire about the wannabe airline, which apparently will be birthed with some pushing by Blue Panorama.

Efforts to get information from ProNicaragua or INTUR have been equally fruitless. Neither agency answered repeated requests for information about the elusive Nicaragua Airways, or its curious alliance with Blue Panorama. Indeed, representatives at ProNicaragua said they, too, were trying to get information from Laureano Ortega’s office, which is apparently run with the same consideration for access to information as other offices managed by members of his family.

INTUR’s PR firm in the United States said they’ve never heard of Nicaragua Airways, and the alleged company’s presumptive website offers few additional clues.

It’s not the first time Nicaragua has gotten excited about an imaginary airline. During a 2011 tourism trade show in Russia, the Nicaraguan government announced the creation of Air Nicaragua, which promised to start international flight service to Havana, Caracas, and Mexico. A year later, no one seems to know what happened to Air Nicaragua—the government never spoke of it again. Similarly, plans for an ALBA Airline, which had Presidents Daniel Ortega and Hugo Chávez eagerly expectant several years ago, never got off the ground.

Even private airline ventures have had trouble getting cleared for takeoff. In 2011, the government touted the birth of Nica Wings, a Canadian-run seaplane service out of Granada. A year later, the company, which is not offering flights, won’t return emails or phone calls.

While much of Nicaragua’s air-travel plans remain a state mystery, what is known is that Italian carrier Blue Panorama will start once-weekly flights to Managua starting tomorrow. The flights, which will arrive and depart Managua every Wednesday evening, cost around $1,025 round trip to Rome, with tariff e tasse included, according to the company’s online booking engine.

That’s good news for Nicaragua, even if the government doesn’t want to talk about it.

  • oct

    good to know that I can go to Italy without all the BS at the US embassy

  • Rolando

    . . . and then there was Nicaragua Lineas Aereas, a set-up by the very peculiar Spanish company Gadair in 2007. The airplane came to Nicaragua in 2007, and transported President Ortega to New York to address the United Nations, as I recall. After the flight they removed the Nicaragua Lineas Aereas sticker from the fuselage and the airplane returned to Gadair service.

  • Hugo

    Oct, not so fast my friend. You cannot fly to Italy on this imaginary airline. They fly from Italy to Managua. I looked into trying to buy a ticket and like most things in Nicaragua only go own way.

    • Adam

      Flights to Managua from Rome stop in Havana, Cuba. The return flight from Managua to Rome is direct, flying on Wednesdays only…..

  • Giovani Luchessi

    You better check this plane record before boarding, Italians are well known for Mafia style management….

  • Pedro Arauz

    They had so many empty seats the re routing to Managua was a needed intent before they close the operation. With Italy in such a bad shape people have to vacation in Toscana, how though!

  • Hugo

    Correcto Pedro. The economy in Italy is very bad and do not think that they will be filling the seats anytime soon and this fantasy will not last long. Maybe we can get more flights from the U.S.?? It is much closer and they seem to have money.

  • Dewey

    This reminds me of Wonder Woman’s invisible plane.

  • Fabian

    I am a Nicaraguan and would like to give my opinion. When I first heard about this news my thought in the moment was this is going to be a big opportunity for tourism in Nica. Then when I took my time to analyze the situation I realized this is completely weird. I dont see any logical explanation in opening a route Rome-Managua und afterwards starting to promote and sell the touristic destinations in Nicaragua. They should had started some time ago with the promotion and with the marketing. As Nicaraguan I want the progress for my country but to be honest dont think this new conection will last so long. What is really the goverment doing? If they were smart the could also find a way to offer cheaper flights from Costa Rica to Nicaragua and try to attract people to come. Unfortunately nobody knows what is going on…

  • Emilio


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