U.S. suspended Venezuela flights to protect passengers

The recent suspension of all passenger and cargo air transportation between the U.S. and Venezuela protects the safety of passengers and crews, given grave security and governance issues in Venezuela.

Humanitarian assistance, including cargo, will still be able to enter into Venezuela through a third country. (The former Maduro regime’s mismanagement and corruption has led to shortages of medicine and basic goods.)

“Conditions in Venezuela threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew traveling to or from that country,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said May 13. “The public interest requires an immediate suspension of all commercial passenger and cargo flights.”

On May 15, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued an order amending U.S. and foreign airline licenses by prohibiting the transportation of passengers and cargo between the United States and Venezuela. A senior State Department official said, “We look forward to being able to reestablish air service between our two countries, once democracy in Venezuela has been restored and security can be ensured.” The purpose of this suspension is to make sure people are safe.

This action follows the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s April 30 notice prohibiting U.S. air operators from flying below 26,000 feet (8,000 meters) in Venezuela’s airspace, citing “increasing political instability and tensions.”

The U.S., along with more than 50 countries, has recognized Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president and supports the country’s people in their quest for democracy.