Lufthansa Suspends Caracas Flights as Venezuelan Economy Struggles

May 28, 2016, 11:34 PM UTC
Lufthansa Pilots Launch Two-Day Strike
FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 21: A man walkes in front of Lufthansa airplanes at the Frankfurt Airport on October 21, 2014 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Vereinigung Cockpit, the labor union that represents the pilots, launched the two-day strike yesterday that has been expanded from short and medium-distance flights on the first day to long haul flights today, affecting over 100,000 passengers. This is the seventh strike by Lufthansa and Germanwings (a Lufthansa subsidiary) pilots this year as the union attempts to maintain the Lufthansa pilots' early retirement guarantee, a benefit that Lufthansa is trying to cut. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
Photograph by Thomas Lohnes — Getty Images

German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG said on Saturday it will temporarily suspend flights to Venezuela as of next month due to economic difficulties in the South American nation and problems converting local currency into dollars.

International airlines have for years struggled to repatriate billions of dollars in revenue held in the local bolivar currency due to exchange controls, prompting many to limit service and require that passengers pay fares in dollars.

For more on the airline industry:

“We deeply regret that for these reasons, we will be forced to suspend our service between Caracas and Frankfurt as of June 18,” the company wrote in a statement, noting that demand for international flights to Caracas dropped in 2015 and the first quarter of 2016.

Lufthansa does not plan to shut its office in Caracas.

Following a two-year rout in oil prices, the South American OPEC nation is struggling with a deep recession and the world’s highest inflation rate, which has put foreign travel out of the reach of most of its citizens.

American Airlines (AAL) in March said it was scrapping a recently-reinstated direct flight between Caracas and New York due to low demand.