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American Airlines suspends flights to Venezuela amid unrest
CNBC
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 16:10

American Airlines suspends flights to Venezuela amid unrest

CNBC
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 16:10

American Airlines on Friday suspended flights to and from Venezuela amid unrest, further isolating the South American country.

American Airlines suspends flights to Venezuela amid unrest


Americans pilot union earlier on Friday said it told its members to refuse any trips to the country after the State Department told U.S. citizens to leave the country. It also pulled its diplomats from Venezuela.

Most U.S. airlines already halted service to Venezuela amid political and economic turmoil there. American was the last major U.S. airline to fly to Venezuela and sells flights from Miami to Caracas and to Maracaibo. The move threatens to further isolate the South American nation that is mired in a humanitarian crisis.
"The safety and security of our team members and customers is always number one and American will not operate to countries we dont consider safe," American said in a statement.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro cut ties with the U.S. in January after Washington recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the countrys president. More than 50 other countries have recognized Guaido as the countrys president.

"Do not travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens," the State Department said in its warning on Tuesday.

"Until further notice, if you are scheduled, assigned, or reassigned a pairing into Venezuela, refuse the assignment" and call chief pilots, the Allied Pilots Association, which represents about 15,000 American Airlines pilots, said in a note to its members late Thursday.

American Airlines did not immediately respond to request for comment. The airlines two flights from Miami to Caracas were canceled on Friday, the airlines website showed, but flights scheduled for Saturday appeared as scheduled.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants that represents Americans 25,000 flight attendants said it supported the pilot unions decision "100%."

"Of course without the pilots, the flights not operating," said Lori Bassani, APFAs president.

United Airlines and Delta Air Lines ceased service to Venezuela in 2017.