UPDATE 1-Lufthansa says owed more than $100 million by Venezuela
(Adds spokesman saying amount has been written off, comment from IATA)
FRANKFURT May 30 (Reuters) - Venezuela owes Lufthansa more than $100 million in ticket revenue, the German carrier said on Monday, following news it was suspending flights there next month.
Like other airlines, Lufthansa has struggled to repatriate revenue held in the local bolivar currency due to exchange controls and had reduced flights to Venezuela to limit its exposure, before its weekend announcement of a suspension.
A Lufthansa spokesman said that the Venezuela government owed it a "low three-digit million" amount, later adding that the amount had already been written off.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has been pushing Caracas to free trapped airline revenue.
"What we want is to keep the place connected. Venezuela's economic difficulties will only get worse if they are isolated even more and unable to participate in trade because airlines aren't flying there any more," IATA Director General Tony Tyler said on Monday.
Struggling Latin American economies are likely to be a topic of discussion when airline chief executives meet this week in Dublin for the annual IATA summit. (Reporting by Peter Maushagen; Writing by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Alexander Smith)
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