Top Venezuela official says armed forces united

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Safety regulators are requiring that any U.S. airline flights over Venezuela remain at least 26,000 feet high, saying that the roiling political crisis in the country increases an “inadvertent risk” to planes.

The Federal Aviation Administration emergency notice says pilots in Venezuela or its airspace should leave within 48 hours if they can do so safely.

The FAA said exceptions can only be made with approval from itself or other U.S. government agencies.

No U.S. passenger airlines fly to Venezuela since American Airlines suspended its flights in mid-March. The airline acted after union leaders told pilots not to operate the flights due to safety concerns.

The FAA order, which has no end date, could affect flights between the U.S. and other South American destinations in South America.

American Airlines flights to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have avoided Venezuelan airspace for some time. A spokesman said that was to avoid high air-navigation fees imposed by Venezuela’s government.

The U.S. has imposed flight restrictions on other countries because of safety issues.

In April 2014, the FAA banned U.S. airlines from flying over parts of Ukraine, citing conflict between the government and pro-Russia rebels. Three months later, a Malaysian Airlines jet was shot down while flying over eastern Ukraine. Dutch investigators concluded that the plane was downed by a missile fired from rebel-controlled territory.

Categories: US & World News

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