American Airlines Friday suspended flights to and from Venezuela in the midst of further unrest and instability in the increasingly isolated South American country.
The move came as the airline’s pilot union began urging its members to refuse flying to the country as the State Department issued a warning to U.S. citizens to leave Venezuela. The State Department also pulled its diplomats from the country.
American was the last major U.S. carrier to be serving Venezuela and had been operating scheduled flights from Miami to Caracas and to Maracaibo. Both United Airlines and Delta canceled their Venezuela service in 2017 well before the current unrest. The South American nation has been experiencing a humanitarian crisis and ongoing civil unrest following the recent election. The Venezuelan president cut ties with the United States after the administration recognized the opposition leader, Juan Guaido as the country’s president. At least 50 other countries have also recognized Juan Guaido as the country’s president.
“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 said in a statement. The U.S. State Department issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory Tuesday, citing crime, civil unrest, a poor health infrastructure and the arbitrary detention of U.S. citizens as reasons to avoid any visits to the country.