The Spanish Union of Airline Pilots (SEPLA) has asked Air Europa to cease flights that require a stopover at Venezuela, or to propose an alternative because of escalating violence in Venezuela’s main cities, citing various assaults on city hotels using firearms.
In a press release published on the 10th of August, SEPLA stated that Air Europa is one of the few European airlines that continue flying to Caracas and allows the crew to stay overnight, a fact that they describe as “incomprehensible”.
Los pilotos de Air Europa temen por su seguridad en los vuelos a Venezuela https://t.co/ZS40m5GYAR
— Sepla (@sepla_pilotos) August 10, 2017
SEPLA also noted that even the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggests avoiding all trips to Venezuela except for “extreme urgency reasons”.
According to SEPLA, this situation “puts at risk the security and physical integrity of the crews that move from the airport to the hotel where they are staying”.
They also pointed out that other Spanish airlines already adopted those measures, such as Iberia, “which takes its crew to Santo Domingo after landing at Caracas.”
Because of the constant violent protests and safety concerns, Air Europa crew members have requested alternatives to a layover in Caracas, Venezuela. The Spanish pilots union SEPLA said in a statement that pilots and other crew should avoid crew-stays in Caracas due to the swelling violence. Pilots have suggested transferring to other destinations in the Caribbean, a hot spot for the carrier. Other carriers have taken precautions to ensure safety of the crew, from fear of regression to a full-out war with airspace closures.
As of today, 10 airlines have suspended their flights to Caracas indefinitely, a city that is currently considered as one of the world’s most dangerous capitals.
Air Europa, a member of the SkyTeam alliance, currently operates 3 weekly flights from Madrid to Caracas using an Airbus A330-300.