Germany’s largest airline company, Lufthansa, has announced that it will no longer provide service from Germany to Venezuela. The company previously offered a flight from Frankfurt to Caracas three times a week, but the flight will no longer be available as of June 17. A company spokesman Jose Manuel Gonzalez cited the challenging economic situation in Venezuela as the primary reason for the suspension. The primary problem for Lufthansa is that the Venezuelan government currently imposes currency controls that prevent airlines from transferring foreign currency out of the country. The spokesman also noted that the company has had trouble transferring currency into US dollars.
Lufthansa according to Gonzalez is not the only airline to discontinue service to Venezuela this year. In February, the Brazilian carrier GOL Linhas Aereas stopped offering service from Sao Paolo to Caracas for the same reasons that Lufthansa is suspending its flights to Venezuela. Other airlines, including Air Canada, American Airlines, and Delta Airlines, have also greatly reduced or discontinued flights to the struggling country since 2014.
What the suspension means for Venezuela remains to be seen. The economic situation in the country appears to be deteriorating, given the current food shortages and the low price of oil. Lufthansa’s decision to discontinue flights may further isolate the country from the global community. Nevertheless, some carriers, such as Air France and Aeromexico, will continue to offer flights to Venezuela, so the market may just shift to other airlines.