American Becomes Last Major U.S. Carrier to End Venezuela Flights

A bus with a message on its back window that reads in Spanish: "Venezuela wants peace" drives through the streets in Caracas, Venezuela. // Photo by AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo via Newscred

American Airlines has suspended all flights to and from Venezuela, which means that the country is no longer served by a major U.S. carrier. 

Late Thursday night the Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents pilots that work for American, called on its members to refuse to fly to Venezuela after the U.S. State Department issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory regarding the destination

“Until further notice, if you are scheduled, assigned, or reassigned a pairing into Venezuela, refuse the assignment by calling your Chief Pilot or IOC Duty Pilot,” the APA said in a statement on its website. “Inform them that you are refusing the assignment in accordance with the direction of the U.S. Department of State.”

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On Friday, American decided to end its Venezuela service, which included twice daily flights to Caracas and once daily flights to Maracaibo

“American has temporarily suspended our operation into Caracas and Maracaibo,” the airline said in a statement provided to Travel Agent. “Our Corporate Security team has a collaborative partnership with union leaders and we will continue to do so to evaluate the situation in Venezuela. The safety and security of our team members and customers is always number one and American will not operate to countries we don’t consider safe.”

American had been the last major U.S. airline to fly to Venezuela, according to CNBC. Both United Airlines and Delta canceled their Venezuela service in 2017. The South American nation is suffering a humanitarian crisis, and in January its president, Nicolas Maduro, cut ties with the United States after the administration recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s president. 

The State Department’s Level 4 advisory, issued earlier this week, represents the most severe advisory level on the organization’s four-point scale, and warns travelers not to travel to a given country. The State Department warns travelers not to travel to Venezuela “due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens.” Additionally, on March 11, the State Department had temporarily suspended operations of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas and withdrew diplomatic personnel from the country, meaning the Embassy can no longer provide consular services. 

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