In an email sent to American’s pilots this evening, Captain Dennis Tajer is advising Pilots to refuse trips to and from Venezuela, a move that will surely cause cancellations to and from the troubled country in the coming days.
In light of the U.S. State Department’s Level 4 Travel Advisory issued this week regarding Venezuela, APA President CA Dan Carey directs all APA pilots to cease flight operations into Venezuela. In its Travel Advisory, the U.S. Department of State cites “crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens.” The Travel Advisory also notes that “Violent crime, such as homicide, armed robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking, is common,” and recommends that U.S. residents “traveling in Venezuela should depart Venezuela.” The U.S. Embassy in Caracas has suspended operations and has withdrawn diplomatic personnel from Venezuela, and is not providing any consular services.
Until further notice, if you are scheduled, assigned, or reassigned a pairing into Venezuela, refuse the assignment by calling your Chief Pilot or IOC Duty Pilot (phone number redacted) Inform them that you are refusing the assignment in accordance with the direction of the U.S. Department of State.
APA will provide follow-on information as soon as it becomes available.
To reiterate: Do not accept any trips to Venezuela.
Captain Dennis Tajer
Allied Pilots Association (APA)
APA Communications Committee – Chairman
APA Industry Analysis Committee
Here’s what this means for customers:
- Inevitably, there may be difficulty in finding pilots to staff flights to and from Venezuela.
- Flights could become severely delayed or canceled. Monitor your individual flights. Even with this type situation, flights can still go if the necessary pilots are found, so don’t just assume your flight will be canceled.
- If your flight is canceled, be proactive – use social media to help rebook by contacting American at @americanair on Twitter. That said, flights on AA may be limited, so depending on your necessity to fly to Venezuela, you may want to fly on other airlines. If your AA flight cancels, you’ll be entitled to a refund.
- Don’t necessarily take your frustration out on the airline. While it’s unfortunate that your flight may be delayed or canceled, ultimately you need to protect the flight crews who need to overnight there. No one’s life is worth not canceling a flight. If those crews need to spend the evening at a hotel where there’s violence or uncertainty, I would fully support cancelling such a flight, or, if in the shoes of a pilot, opting not to fly. Everyone’s safety comes first.
This comes amidst cancellations for various aircraft with several ongoing issues: the FAA grounding of the 737 MAX, weather related issues in Dallas (and Chicago) and fixing of aircraft involved in an Oasis retrofit issue.
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