American Airlines on Friday announced the suspension of flights to Venezuela over safety concerns as self-declared interim president Juan Guaido called for more nationwide protests.
The decision ends the last nonstop commercial service between the USA and the ravaged South American nation, which is struggling with massive social upheaval triggered by months of political violence and economic turmoil as its dictator, Nicolas Maduro, struggles to hang on.
The decision came after the US State Department this week issued a "do not travel" advisory urging Americans to avoid the crisis-hit country "due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of US citizens". American, the largest airline in the USA, had been operating two daily flights from Miami International Airport to Caracas and one to Maracaibo.
"Until further notice, if you are scheduled, assigned, or reassigned a pairing into Venezuela, refuse the assignment", the APA said in a statement.
The union represents about 15,000 American pilots.
"Tomorrow all the national leaders, lawmakers, regional leaders will be deployed on the entire territory, united and mobilized for the end of the usurpation [by Maduro]", Guaido said in a tweet.
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However it will likely suspend the service in view of dire State Department warning and the action by the union.