American Airlines pilots told by union not to fly to Venezuela

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a large air plane flying in the sky: An American Airlines airplane takes off from Heathrow airport in London

(Reuters) – American Airlines Group Inc pilots should not fly to Venezuela, an influential pilots union said on Friday, following a travel advisory issued by the U.S. State Department this week.

The department cited civil unrest, poor health and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens in Venezuela for issuing the advisory https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/venezuela-travel-advisory.html on March 12.

“Do not accept any trips to Venezuela,” the Allied Pilots Association said in a statement.

A number of airlines have stopped their flights to the country because of security concerns and disputes over money they say the government owes them.

United Airlines ended its flights to Venezuela in 2017.

Venezuela plunged into a deep political crisis in January when Juan Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled congress, invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election was not legitimate.

The move has put Venezuela at the heart of a geopolitical tussle, with the United States leading most Western nations in recognizing Guaido as the legitimate head of state.

All U.S. diplomats left the country on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

American Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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