MIAMI – United Airlines ends its services to Caracas, Venezuela from June 30.
“In every market we serve, we continually review demand for service, and because our Houston-Caracas service is not meeting our financial expectations, we have decided to suspend it,” the carrier’s spokesman, Charles Hobart, said.
The airline as of recently served a daily flight between Houston and Caracas onboard the Boeing 737-800. United was one of the airlines that had to struggle in order to maintain services to Venezuela since 2014; initially reducing from daily to four weekly flights.
At beginning of the summer season, the airline went back to a daily flight, but since April 4th, due to the increasing concerns about the lack of security in the Venezuelan capital, the outbound flight from Houston makes a technical stop in Aruba in order to change crews, so they don’t have to stay overnight in Caracas but rather fly immediately back to Houston.
The airline will continue to serve the Venezuelan market with their Star Alliance partners, Avianca and Copa Airlines -through their hubs in Bogotá and Panama City respectively.
Venezuela is currently facing one of the harshest periods of political and economic instability due to anti-democratic actions taken by its Government. Almost 15 international airlines left Venezuela, hundreds of pilots searched new opportunities abroad, and over US$4 billion remain in debt from the National Government to the industry.
Several international carriers, including Air Canada, Alitalia, Lufthansa, LATAM, GOL, Insel Air are just a few of the carriers that ceased flights to Venezuela. Others, such as American Airlines and Delta, have decreased their operations to assure a minimal connectivity and decrease exposure to the “Land Of Grace” due to potential risks.
Likewise, Aerolineas Argentinas took extra measures to keep their crew safe during their layovers in the Venezuelan capital.
The current situation of air travel in Venezuela is touching bottom. The lack of international connections due to the default in the payment to international carriers is leaving Venezuelans with few but expensive travel options.
Even the Venezuelan flag carrier, Conviasa, suspended all its domestic and international flights due to certain “administrative concerns” with its insurance company. The reality is that the airline has run out of U.S. Dollars to pay the insurance policy that has expired, leaving their customers stuck in various destinations. Also, Wamos Air suspended last month its operations for the carrier due to political reasons.
Overall, Venezuelan passengers are suffering the dramatic economic, social and political woes that hit the country on a daily basis, and things are about to get worse as days go by.
Chronologically, these are some of the airlines that opted to suspend their flights:
• Dynamic Airways, daily flight from Fort Lauderdale on August 13, 2016
• LATAM, a weekly flight from Lima, twice weekly flight from Santiago on August 1, 2016.
• Aeromexico, thrice weekly flights from Mexico City on June 23, 2016.
• Lufthansa, thrice weekly flights from Frankfurt on June 17, 2016.
• LATAM, a weekly flight from Sao Paulo on May 28, 2016.
• Alitalia, a weekly flight from Rome on April 3, 2015.
• Air Canada, four weekly flights from Toronto on March 18, 2014.