Daily flights to Venezuela being operated by United Airlines will end in July, said media reports recently. With the exit of leading U.S. carrier, the troubled South American nation will be further isolated. The recent years have witnessed several major airlines ending their services in the country impacting international travel severely.
Media reports said that the Venezuelan government has left many airlines in the lurch after refusing to pay billions of dollars rightfully owed to them in a prolonged dispute. The government was expected to reimburse for tickets sales in hard currency. However, strict currency controls has heightened the crisis prompting many international airlines to abandon air services.
A spokesperson of United Airlines said that the company is not stopping flights services over any payment dispute. The airline, which is currently offering daily flights between Houston and Caracas, is citing a different reason to end services. The airline said that over the past years few tourists are choosing to fly to the crisis-stricken Venezuela, and the route therefore is confronting low occupancy problems. The service is though quite popular with Venezuelans residing in the U.S. and also Texas-based oil executives.
Earlier, in April this year United Airlines had added a one-hour stopover in Aruba to its Houston-Caracas route. In recent years airlines such as Air Canada and Lufthansa had also ended their operations in Venezuela citing safety concerns and payment dispute. Even American Airlines had also curtailed 80 percent of flights services to the country in 2014 because of payment dispute.
According to International Air Transport Association the Venezuelan government owed $3.78 billion to several international airlines. However, despite many international airlines ending their services, there are few others that still continue to offer their services in this OPEC nation. These airlines among others include Air France, Avianca and Copa Airlines.