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Allied Pilots Association Lauds Department of Homeland Security for Suspending Venezuela Service
FORT WORTH, Texas (May 15, 2019) — The Allied Pilots Association (APA), representing the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, voiced its strong support for today’s announcement by the Department of Homeland Security that it would suspend all commercial and cargo flights between the United States and Venezuela.
“The Department of Homeland Security has made the correct decision, echoing the guidance we provided to our pilots back on March 14 to refuse any assignments to Venezuela,” said APA President Daniel F. Carey. “We did so in response to the decision by the U.S. Department of State to withdraw diplomatic personnel from Venezuela, which followed that agency’s issuance of a Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ Advisory concerning Venezuela.
“Our pilots complied with APA’s direction, and American Airlines subsequently suspended its service there,” he said. “Since then, the situation in Venezuela has continued to deteriorate.”
Carey noted the Federal Aviation Administration published a Notice to Airmen in February highlighting “political instability and tensions in Venezuela and the associated inadvertent risk to flight operations,” along with a subsequent “Do Not Fly” notice instructing U.S. operators to cease all operations into and over Venezuela. Venezuela is equipped with a highly sophisticated, Russian-made anti-aircraft missile system, and also possesses more than 5,000 shoulder-fired missiles.
“Given the chaotic situation, the FAA is clearly concerned about the potential for a commercial airliner being an inadvertent victim,” he said.
“Our hearts go out to the people of Venezuela, including fellow American Airlines employees, for their terrible predicament,” he said. “We very much enjoyed the opportunity to provide air service between our two countries, and hope for better days ahead and the eventual restoration of service.
“Until that time, APA concurs with the FAA and the DHS — it’s just too dangerous right now.”
Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association — the largest independent pilots union in the United States — is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, including several hundred pilots on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union's website is AlliedPilots.org. American Airlines is the world's largest passenger airline.