- American Airlines suspended flights to and from Venezuela on Friday due to security concerns.
- The announcement comes days after the US State Department issued a level four advisory instructing Americans to refrain from travel to the South American country.
- “American will not operate to countries we don’t consider safe,” the airline said.
- Venezuela has descended into political and economic chaos in recent months.
American Airlines suspended flights to and from Venezuela on Friday. The announcement comes days after the US State Department issued a level four advisory instructing Americans to refrain from travelling to the South American country due to “crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of US citizens.”
The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline usually operates two daily flights to Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, and one daily flight to Maracaibo.
In a statement to Business Insider, American Airlines said,
“American has temporarily suspended our operation into Caracas and Maracaibo. 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.”
On Friday, the airline’s pilot union encouraged its members to refuse to make flights to Venezuela citing security concerns.
In addition to the travel advisory, the State Department has also shut down the US Embassy in Caracas and has withdrawn all diplomatic staff.
The oil-rich South American nation has descended into political and economic chaos in recent months. There are reports of food, water, and power shortages as well as riots in protest of President Nicolas Maduro. Since January, the legitimacy of Maduro’s presidency has come under challenge from opposition leader Juan Guaidó. The US and Europe have all recognised Guaidó as Venezuela’s rightful leader.
Other countries with level four travel advisories include Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Haiti, Somalia, Syria, Libya, and North Korea.
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