Business Travel Advisory – 1/28/19

THE AMERICAS

Regional 
Travelers due to cross the Guatemala-Mexico border by land should reconfirm the status of border crossing points due to heightened security and protests in the area. A Mexico-bound “migrant caravan” departed Honduras on January 14; some 3,000 migrants are awaiting immigration proceedings at the border. Scuffles between migrants, police and/or local residents in and around border cities remain possible.

United States 
Travelers in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions, particularly North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, should anticipate disruption associated with the passage of Winter Storm Jayden. The storm entered North Dakota yesterday and is expected to bring heavy snow, strong winds, and freezing temperatures as it moves southeast through Wednesday, January 30. Blizzard-like conditions could disrupt flights at airports in the region, as well as road travel along major highways in the area.

Due to inclement weather, there is a traffic management program in effect for flights arriving to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). This is causing some arriving flights to be delayed an average of 4 hours and 32 minutes. Travelers are advised to reconfirm flights and allow additional travel time.

Due to inclement weather, there is a traffic management program in effect for flights arriving to Denver International Airport (DEN). This is causing some arriving flights to be delayed an average of 1 hour and 4 minutes. Travelers are advised to reconfirm flights and allow additional travel time.

Cuba 
Travelers in Havana, as well as Mayabeque, Artemisa and Pinar del Rio provinces, should anticipate significant disruption following damage caused by a tornado yesterday. Widespread power outages, damage to public and residential buildings, and local flooding have been reported in the affected areas. In Havana, impacted neighborhoods include Santos Suarez, Luyano, Via Blanca, and Regla. Authorities have advised those in affected areas to avoid leaving their residence or accommodation today as they respond to emergencies and assess damage. No casualties have been reported thus far.

Ecuador 
Today and Wednesday, January 30, travelers in Quito and other urban centers should avoid planned demonstrations against the government’s proposed economic reforms, including increased fuel prices. The main indigenous organization CONAIE and similar groups plan to hold related protests today, while CONAIE and the FUT labor union will stage joint rallies at 5:00 PM local time on Wednesday, January 30. Although specific details of the events are currently unclear, the Carondelet Palace in Quito and other government buildings are potential locations.

Haiti 
Today and tomorrow, travelers in urban centers should avoid any demonstrations associated with a planned teachers’ strike. The PSEH teachers’ union alliance is protesting the government’s perceived mismanagement of education. While details of related demonstrations are currently unclear, the Champ de Mars area of Port au-Prince, where the National Palace and other government buildings are located, is among potential locations.

Venezuela 
All inbound travel to Venezuela should be deferred through February 4 due to the current political crisis and associated protests. Travelers in country should minimize non-essential movement due to ongoing sporadic unrest. Opposition-led protests have continued in Caracas and other urban centers following widespread demonstrations on January 23. Juan Guaido, the National Assembly-recognized interim President, has called for nationwide peaceful marches from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM local time on Wednesday, January 30. Similar demonstrations are scheduled across the country on February 2, though specific details have not been released.

AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST

Burkina Faso 
A six-month State of Emergency was imposed on January 1 in 14 provinces. On January 15, a Canadian geologist was kidnapped in Tiabongou by unidentified gunmen. Travel to Tiabongou, as well as Soum, Loroum and Oudalan provinces, should be for essential purposes only.

Congo (DRC) 
Today, travelers in urban centers should anticipate and avoid further student protests over an increase in university fees following disruptive demonstrations in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, and Bukavu. Yesterday, three students and a police officer were killed during violent protests at the University of Lubumbashi. President Felix Tshisekedi has announced that the officer responsible for the students’ deaths was arrested, and the increase in fees suspended; however, it is unclear whether these measures will appease the students. Further demonstrations are possible.

Iraq 
On Saturday, January 26, two people were killed, and 15 others injured when protesters attempted to enter a Turkish military outpost in Sirye. The protest was in response to a series of Turkish airstrikes near Deralok that killed six people.

Kenya 
Normal movement at the junction of Latema and Odeon roads in Nairobi can resume, following the earlier discovery of a suspicious package in the vicinity of the Odeon Cinema. The package has been removed for further investigation, and roads have reopened to traffic. The incident follows an explosion in the same area that injured two civilians on Saturday, January 26. There is a credible risk of terrorism in Nairobi, and travelers should exercise vigilance in public places and around “soft” militant targets, including hotels, shopping centers and crowded restaurants.

Lebanon 
Today, travelers in Beirut should avoid a planned protest outside the Sudanese Embassy as a precaution. An alliance of progressive and nationalist political groups has called for participants to gather at 5:00 PM local time in support of the ongoing anti-government demonstrations in Sudan.

Mozambique 
Three suspected militants were arrested on January 25 during a security operation in Mocimboa da Praia district. The suspects are all foreigners linked to the Islamist militant al-Sunnah group, which has carried out attacks on villages and security force installations in Cabo Delgado since October 2017. Most recently, the group claimed responsibility for an attack in Nandimba village, close to the Tanzanian border on January 24, during which a resident was shot and beheaded.

Nigeria 
Today, travelers in Abuja should avoid a planned anti-government protest at 9:00 AM local time at the Unity Fountain, opposite the Transcorp Hilton Hotel. Related rallies have been called nationwide in protest of the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, a move alleged by opposition groups as unconstitutional. Travelers should monitor developments via local contacts and avoid all associated demonstrations.

South Africa 
Today, travelers in Johannesburg should expect disruption and avoid rallies linked to an indefinite strike by workers employed by the city’s Metrobus service. The industrial action, called by the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Demawusa), is being organized over salary disparity among employees. The strike is likely to be accompanied by demonstrations, particularly at and around the Metrobus Depot in the Central Business District. Travelers should avoid all related gatherings.

Swaziland 
Today, travelers in Swaziland should anticipate disruption due to a nationwide strike by unions and public sector workers. Thousands of workers, including members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers, will stage related protests to demand higher wages. Demonstrations are expected in Mbabane, Pigg’s Peak, Madlangempisi, Manzini, Mankayane, Nhlangano, Hlathikhulu, and Siteki.

Syria 
On January 24, a car bomb detonated near the Russian Embassy in the Al-Adawi district of Damascus, causing material damage. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which was the third such incident in historically government-held territories in recent days. On January 22, a car bomb detonated in Latakia’s al-Hammam Square, killing one person and injuring 14 others. On January 20, an explosive device placed in a bus caused several casualties when it detonated along the southern highway in Damascus.

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

India 
Recent foiled militant plots in Maharashtra state and Delhi underline the persist risks posed by terrorism. Authorities recently arrested suspected militants in Aurangabad, Thane, and Delhi; the suspects had allegedly been planning attacks ahead of the country’s Republic Day celebrations. Explosive materials, acid, and knives were confiscated during the Maharashtra raids. Travelers should remain vigilant to their surroundings and report any suspicious behavior or items to authorities.

Today and tomorrow, travelers in Delhi should expect heightened security and road closures for the “Beating Retreat” ceremony, which officially closes Republic Day celebrations. Road restrictions and/or closures and associated disruption should be expected around Vijay Chowk on both days, when vehicular traffic is usually suspended from 4:00 PM to 9:30 PM local time around Rajpath, including parts of the Raisina area. Security arrangements for the celebrations will also partially disrupt Delhi metro services tomorrow.

Travelers in northeastern states should continue to avoid protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) and Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Amendment bills. The first bill would grant citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The second would grant Scheduled Tribe status to six indigenous tribal groups in Asom state, giving them legal protections and advantages. Several protests have occurred in recent weeks to oppose the bills, and more demonstrations are planned in Asom’s main city of Guwahati and other parts of the state through Wednesday, January 30. There is potential for unrest around all related rallies.

Malaysia 
An increase in hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is underway in Sarawak. The majority affected are children under the age of 3. HFMD is a viral illness. Symptoms include a fever, ulceration in the mouth, and a rash on the palms and soles that may blister. The illness spreads from person-to-person and occasionally it can be severe. Travelers should prevent infection by paying strict attention to hygiene.

Pakistan 
High levels of air pollution have affected several locations across the country. Lahore has been severely impacted. Polluted air can cause symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and irritation of the eyes and nose. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with underlying heart or lung disease are particularly vulnerable. To lessen the risk of potential health problems, travelers are advised to reduce exposure by decreasing time and physical activity outdoors.

On February 5, travelers in urban centers should avoid all rallies and events related to Kashmir Solidarity Day as a precaution. The opposition Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has planned rallies in major urban centers, including Karachi and Multan. The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), a coalition of religious parties, has also announced nationwide gatherings. In Islamabad, lawmakers will visit the UN offices to submit a related memorandum. The high-profile visit could draw crowds and cause local traffic disruption, particularly along Constitution Avenue and Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat Road.

Papua New Guinea 
Travelers in Alotau and other parts of Milne Bay province should exercise heightened caution during stepped-up operations to catch members of an armed criminal gang. A three-week dusk-to-dawn curfew was reported today, as provincial authorities continue a search for about 20 armed men thought to be led by an escaped convict. The driver of a passing vehicle was fatally shot in the Red Hill area on January 23 during a shootout between police and the gang, while at least one person died when the gang torched homes inside the police barracks. The criminals also looted a supermarket and a hotel ATM.

EUROPE

Regional 
Today and tomorrow, travelers planning to use the Georgian Military Road should make alternative arrangements due to the ongoing closure of the route. The road has been closed in both directions since 9:20 PM local time yesterday due to heavy snowfall and an increased risk of avalanches. The Georgian Military Road is the only overland route connecting Russia with Georgia and Armenia.

Finland 
Today through Wednesday, January 30, travelers should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption due to heavy snow and strong winds. Officials at Helsinki Airport (HEL) have warned passengers of likely flight disruption today due to the severe weather. Additionally, the Finnish Meteorological Institute has issued weather warnings for several regions across the country, particularly Uusimaa, Varsinais-Suomi, Aland and Kanta-Hame.

Greece 
Today, travelers conducting road journeys should anticipate disruption and avoid anti-austerity protests by farmers as a precaution. Participants are expected to drive tractors on main roads, particularly in Peloponnese as well as northern regions, to demand that the government reduce taxes and energy charges for agricultural producers. Disruption can be expected beginning at 11:00 AM local time along the National Route E92, which links Trikala and Larrisa, and E65, which links Larrisa and Farsala.

Ireland 
On Thursday, January 31, travelers in Dublin should plan journeys avoiding a protest outside Leinster House at 7:00 PM local time to minimize inconvenience. Demonstrators are denouncing a proposed carbon tax by the government.

Italy 
Today, passengers transiting Italian airports should anticipate potential flight delays and cancellations during a planned strike by employees of Alitalia, Air Italy, and Vueling. Employees of Air Italy and Vueling are staging walkouts for 24 hours, which began at 12:01 AM local time, while staff of Alitalia will observe the strike from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM local time. Travelers should reconfirm flights to avoid inconvenience.

Russia 
Today, travelers in Moscow should plan journeys bypassing a protest outside the Venezuelan Embassy. Members of the Communist Party of Russia are demonstrating against recent US statements on and perceived interference in Venezuelan affairs.

Travelers in Central Federal District, including Moscow, should anticipate residual disruption in the coming days after blizzards and heavy snowstorms on January 26-27. Authorities have deployed 60,000 people to clear snow from roads, though this is expected to take up to a week. Travelers should allow additional time for road journeys, reconfirm the status of the routes before setting out, and exercise additional caution if driving, as traffic accidents have increased due to the severe weather.

United Kingdom 
Tomorrow and Wednesday, January 30, travelers in England should allow additional time to complete journeys, due to potential poor weather conditions on both days. Moderate-to-heavy heavy snowfall is forecast to affect London as well as East of England, south East England, south West England, East Midlands, and West Midlands from 9:00 PM local time tomorrow through 12:00 PM local time on Wednesday, January 30. The Met Office has issued Yellow Warnings (the lowest in a three-tier system) for snow in these areas. Authorities at airports serving London, including Heathrow (LHR) and Gatwick (LGW), as well Network Rail authorities, have announced enhanced snow preparedness.