American Airlines has told Miami-based staffers in an internal memo that is has taken the decision to suspend all operations to crisis-stricken Venezuela “indefinitely”. The airline originally suspended operations between Miami and both Caracas and Maracaibo on the 15th March after the U.S. State Department issued a Category 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ advisory for the country.
The State Department warned that “violent crime, such as homicide, armed robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking, is common” and that “here are shortages of food, electricity, water, medicine, and medical supplies throughout much of Venezuela.” Officials warned that American citizens had been arbitrarily detained by Venezuelan security forces for long periods of time.
Although the advisory said that commercial flights were still available between the United States and Venezuela, American Airlines took the decision to temporarily cancel services between the two countries after Allied Pilots Association (APA) and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) told their members to refuse any trips to Venezuela citing the deteriorating security situation in the country.
“American has proudly served Venezuela for more than 30 years,” the leaked memo read. It said that local leadership and corporate security had been working with the unions to restart service but had made “the difficult decision to indefinitely suspend service to Venezuela, effective immediately”.
The airline said it would continue to monitor the situation and work with partners and unions to restart services when “conditions are right”.
“Right now, we don’t have a set timeframe”.
“This was a tough decision not only because of our long history in Venezuela, but because we have more than 70 team members who live and work in the country. We are working closely with the team to assist during this difficult time and look for other opportunities.”
The only international airlines now operating services to Venezuela are: Air Europa, Air France, Copa Airlines, Cubana de Aviación, Iberia, Wingo, Plus Ultra, Turkish Airlines and TAP Air Portugal.