More air­lines find Venezuela dread­ful

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM -

Air­lines are con­tin­u­ing to pull out of Venezuela, and this time it’s not just about trapped cash but a whole se­ries of griev­ances in­clud­ing em­ploy­ees held up at gun­point, lug­gage theft, poor run­way main­te­nance and lowqual­ity jet fuel.

United Air­lines, Avianca and Delta Air Lines have either stopped fly­ing to Venezuela or said they would leave the coun­try, while three oth­ers can­celed flights on spe­cific days as the na­tion de­scends into chaos. Colom­bia’s pi­lots’ as­so­ci­a­tion says its mem­bers who have flown to Venezuela have had to deal with con­tam­i­nated fuel and hours­long de­lays as the Na­tional Guard pulls suit­cases off flights to loot them. This week, videos showed an ap­par­ent as­sas­si­na­tion of a man at the check-in desk of a Venezue­lan air­line at Cara­cas’ in­ter­na­tional air­port.

“Ev­ery­thing that’s part of the air­port’s in­fra­struc­ture started to get de­graded,” said Ju­lian Pin­zon, the head of se­cu­rity and tech­ni­cal is­sues at Colom­bian pi­lot as­so­ci­a­tion Ac­dac.

The cur­rent round of car­rier de­par­tures comes af­ter routes had sta­bi­lized from the pre­vi­ous ex­o­dus trig­gered by the gov­ern­ment’s halt of dol­lar pay­ments, and leaves Venezue­lans in­creas­ingly cut off from the rest of the world. A flight to Mi­ami in coach class can cost about $1,000, in a coun­try where the monthly min­i­mum wage is about $20 at the black mar­ket rate.

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