MIAMI — United Airlines is now following other airlines as they plan to reduce flights to Venezuela this fall. This move is due to a dispute about money trapped by tight currency controls in the South American country.
Currently, United flies daily flights between Houston and Caracas.
Starting September 17, United will only fly between Houston and Caracas four times a week. The flight will depart Houston a few minutes before midnight on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Flights will depart Caracas for Houston on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
In a statement, the airline reported exchange losses amounting to USD 21 million due to variations in the foreign exchange rate in Venezuela. They added they are working with Venezuelan authorities to repatriate profits, which they estimated at some USD 100 million.
At issue is the way the country takes in money for airline tickets and then distributes it. Venezuela insists all money collected in ticket sales must be in bolivars, which it then deposits into a government-controlled account. The government then disperses the money.
In this way, United Airlines joined other major US airlines (American Airlines and Delta Air Lines) that have reduced their services in Venezuela amidst problems to repatriate their revenue owing to exchange controls in the South American country.
Earlier this week, Delta Air Lines announced it would reduce service to Caracas from Atlanta to weekly instead of daily.