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Delta Joins American in Cutting Flights to Venezuela

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- Delta Air Lines Inc. joined American Airlines in cutting the number of flights between the U.S. and Venezuela because of a dispute over cash trapped in the country.

Delta will go from once daily flights between Atlanta and Caracas to one weekly round trip starting Aug. 1, said Sarah Lora, a spokeswoman for the carrier. Atlanta-based Delta has provided uninterrupted service to Venezuela for 15 years, she said.

The change will further isolate Venezuela, where at least a dozen carriers have cut capacity, sales or service in protest over strict currency controls that prevent them from repatriating earnings from tickets sold there without government authorization.

“Delta will remain in the market to serve valued customers, however, the debt created over the past several years due to currency issues made us take a business decision to minimize our risk,” Lora said, declining to disclose how much money the airline has stuck in Venezuela.

American Airlines Group Inc., the U.S. carrier with the most flights to Venezuela, reduced its weekly trips to 10 from 48 as of July 1. The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline had $750 million locked in Venezuela as of March 31.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas at maryc.s@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net Molly Schuetz, John Lear

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