Business Travel Advisory – 1/23/19

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THE AMERICAS

United States
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 1 hour and 28 minutes. Travelers are advised to reconfirm flights and allow additional travel time.

Due to inclement weather, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) was closed at 8:00 PM local time yesterday and was expected to reopen at 8:00 AM local time today. Passengers transiting DTW Airport should reconfirm flights and expect delays as authorities reposition aircraft and clear passenger backlogs.

Yesterday, incoming flights at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) experienced delays after drone activity was reported. Although the Federal Aviation Authority says the drones are no longer in EWR’s airspace, the incident may cause some residual flight disruption. Passengers transiting the airport should reconfirm schedules prior to setting out.

Argentina 
Several cases of hantavirus have been confirmed in Chubut province. Hantaviruses are carried by infected rodents and excreted in their saliva, urine, and feces. People can become infected if bitten by a rat or through contact with rodent excrement that becomes airborne and enters someone’s body through inhalation, contact with broken skin or through their eyes, nose or mouth. Although the disease is not generally passed from person to person, rare cases of person to person transmission have been reported in Argentina. Travelers are advised to prevent hantavirus by avoiding contact with rodents and their environments and practicing good hygiene.

Nicaragua 
Tomorrow, travelers in Managua should avoid a demonstration called by the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep), among other groups. The rally is due to begin at 1:30 PM local time. While the specific location is unclear, protest flashpoints include Metrocentro, Rotonda del Periodista, as well as the vicinity of universities, such as the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN). The groups are denouncing the ongoing government crackdown on dissent.

Venezuela 
Today, travelers should monitor developments and strictly avoid planned demonstrations by pro- and anti-government activists. Anti-government demonstrations have been called by Juan Guaido, leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, to denounce President Nicolas Maduro. While the largest protests are expected to take place in Caracas, gatherings are also likely in other cities throughout the country. In response, government supporters have announced plans to march from various parts of Caracas to the El Silencio district.

AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST

Regional
Flights between Turkey and Suleimaniyah International Airport (ISU) in Iraq are due to resume on Friday, January 25. An air travel ban to Erbil and Suleimaniyah airports was put in place in October 2017 following the Kurdish Independence Referendum. Flights to Erbil International Airport (EBL) resumed in March 2018. Travelers planning to fly between Turkey and Suleimaniyah International Airport (ISU) after Friday, January 25 should reconfirm flights as a precaution.

Iraq 
Today, travelers in Baghdad should avoid an ongoing demonstration on the 14 July Bridge, heading towards the International Zone (commonly referred to as the “Green Zone”). Members of the Martyrs Foundation are marching towards the Green Zone to demand higher salaries and pensions for the families of martyrs. Despite a meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives yesterday, further protests over the issue are possible in the coming days, as participants have stated that they will continue the campaign until their demands are met. Parliament reportedly postponed today’s session due to the protests.

Israel 
Travelers within 25 miles of the border with the Gaza Strip should exercise vigilance and monitor developments after the Israeli Air Force (IAF) launched airstrikes against Hamas militant targets yesterday. The Israeli military said the strikes were in response to militant sniper fire aimed at their troops earlier in the day; the Israeli Cabinet is also withholding a transfer of money to the Hamas-governed territory. The incident is unlikely to escalate further; however, travelers are advised to monitor developments as a precaution.

Kenya 
Travelers in Nakuru County should exercise caution and anticipate a heightened security force presence following reports of renewed communal tensions in the area south of the town of Njoro. Two local residents sustained serious injuries on Monday, January 21 during an attack, suspected to be linked to communal rivalries, on a farm in Mau Narok. Following the incident, local residents blocked a section of Njoro-Mau Narok Road in protest of the official response to the violence. The demonstration was forcefully dispersed by police.

Lebanon 
On Friday, January 25, travelers in Beirut should plan routes avoiding a demonstration over the death of a Syrian refugee. Participants will gather at 6:00 PM local time at Le Bristol Hotel in Verdun before marching to the Municipality building. Although the march is expected to be peaceful and relatively small, it may cause traffic disruption, potentially along Spears Street. There will also likely be a heightened security force presence.

Madagascar 
Travelers in coastal areas of Madagascar should expect disruption during the passage of two tropical storms. In the northwest, there is a residual risk of rain, flooding, and landslides following the passage of Tropical Storm Desmond; however, a new tropical storm is now forming in the Mozambique Channel that is forecast to bring heavy rain and possible flooding to southern areas of the country.

Somalia 
Today, a large explosion was reported at around 3:40 PM local time in the vicinity of the KM4 Junction, close to Aden Adde International Airport (MGQ) in Mogadishu. Initial reports indicate that there may have been two car bombs. Details are emerging.

Sudan 
Non-essential travel to Sudan should be deferred, while travelers in country should continue to exercise caution in urban centers, amid ongoing anti-government unrest. Yesterday, security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters in Khartoum and Omdurman. Several groups, including the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, the opposition National Consensus Forces and Sudan Call, have called for further nationwide protests tomorrow, including in Khartoum and Omdurman.

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

Australia 
Today through Sunday, January 27, travelers in northwestern parts of Western Australia state should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption due to a developing cyclone. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has forecast that a tropical low off Kuri Bay could intensify into a tropical cyclone tomorrow as it moves in a southwest along the coast of the Kimberley region. Although the weather system is not expected to make landfall, BoM has warned of heavy rainfall and strong winds in coastal areas between Kuri Bay and Beagle Bay.

On Saturday, January 26, travelers Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney should expect disruption and heightened security around demonstrations held on Australia Day, the country’s official national day, to demand greater recognition and rights for the indigenous community. The events are likely to pass off peacefully but may attract a large turnout. Travelers should plan routes avoiding their vicinity as a precaution and to minimize inconvenience.

Azerbaijan 
Yesterday, authorities dismissed the criminal case against prominent activist and blogger Mehman Huseynov. Despite this development, a rally led by the opposition National Council of Democratic Forces coalition at Mehsul Stadium in Baku, scheduled for 3:00 PM local time, may still go ahead. The group is demanding the release of several political opposition figures. Local unrest is possible if the rally proceeds without authorization; the local police department plans to submit a petition to authorities to prohibit the gathering. Travelers should remain apprised of developments and avoid the demonstration if it proceeds as planned.

Bangladesh 
High levels of air pollution have affected several locations across the country. 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.

China 
Today, small groups of activists gathered around the Legislative Council Complex and the Central Government Offices in Central district in protest of ongoing legislative debate over a national anthem bill. Further such gatherings are possible. While demonstrations are expected to remain contained and peaceful, travelers should avoid them as a standard precaution and monitor related developments.

India 
Tomorrow, travelers in Chennai should allow additional time for journeys around Raj Bhavan during a protest by members of state opposition party DMK. The gathering is being organized to demand the resignation of Chief Minister K Palaniswami and a proper investigation into his alleged links to a criminal case. The demonstration is likely to pass off peacefully, but may cause local traffic disruption around Raj Bhavan, including along Sardar Patel Road.

Travelers should maintain flexible itineraries during the ongoing winter season, which usually lasts through February. Dense fog can periodically cause significant disruption to flights, trains, and overland journeys. Roads in mountainous terrain may close for long periods due to avalanches and landslides. Heavy fog has disrupted flights at Biju Patnaik Airport (BBI) since January 18; flights at Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) have also been affected. The Srinagar-Jammu Highway has been closed since January 21 following an avalanche.

Kazakhstan 
Travelers in northern and eastern regions should exercise caution and plan journeys accounting for adverse winter weather. Severe snowstorms are predicted in northern parts of the country, including the Aktobe and Kostanay regions. Strong winds, ice, and fog are expected in the southwest, including the Kyzylorda and Mangystau regions, with a high chance of deterioration in the coming days. Travelers should anticipate disruption and reconfirm the status of routes before setting out.

Sri Lanka 
Travelers in Colombo should anticipate travel disruption and an increased security presence before and on February 4 during Independence Day celebrations. The main event will be held at Galle Face Green. Roads in the area will be closed from January 26 through February 4 for rehearsals and the celebration; the Colombo-Galle Main Road will be closed from 6:30 AM to 1:00 PM local time between the Kollupitiya Junction and Lotus Roundabout. The exact time of events on February 4 has not been confirmed; typically, there is a military parade in the morning followed by a cultural pageant in the evening.

Tajikistan 
The M34 Highway connecting Dushanbe with Khujand has reopened. Travelers intending to use the M34 should ensure the route is clear prior to departure, as the risk of avalanche remains amid heavy snowfall. Local carrier Somon Air has increased the frequency of flights between Dushanbe and Khujand to counteract any further travel disruption on the highway during the winter season.

Thailand 
Today, the Election Commission said that a General Election has been scheduled for March 24. A royal decree was issued earlier today authorizing the polls and the official commencement of campaigning; however, protests may take place if the government once again delays the election and/or acts against opposition politicians. Travelers in major urban centers, particularly Bangkok, should continue to monitor election-related developments and avoid all related gatherings as a precaution.

EUROPE

France 
Travelers in urban centers should exercise caution and avoid weekly protests by supporters of the “Yellow Vests” movement. Nationwide demonstrations are planned for Saturday, January 26; several activists have also called for the protests to continue overnight. In addition, a counter-protest by the “Red Scarf” group will take place at 2:00 PM local time on Sunday, January 27 at Place de la Republique in Paris. The upcoming gatherings are liable to be forcibly dispersed by authorities.

Switzerland 
Today through Friday, January 25, travelers in Davos should anticipate heightened security measures and related disruption during the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) summit. More than 2,500 people, including heads of state, will participate in the event. Security zones will be established in the town, including around the main Kongresszentrum. Access to these zones will not be permitted without valid authorization. In addition, travelers should anticipate and avoid protests related to the summit as a routine precaution.

Ukraine 
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Ukraine, particularly Kiev and central and eastern oblasts, should plan journeys accounting for weather related disruption. According to the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Centre, a storm bringing heavy snowfall and blizzard-like conditions will move east across the country, impacting Kiev today. Significant disruption has been reported on the M05 Highway linking Kiev and Odessa, mostly around Petrovirivka. Authorities have urged residents to avoid using personal vehicles and parking along city streets. Travelers should anticipate widespread disruption to transportation, including flights.

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