Business Travel Advisory – 2/11/19

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THE AMERICAS

United States
Travelers in Washington, particularly Seattle, Yakima and Spokane, should anticipate disruption due to the passage of a winter storm. Parts of Oregon, including Portland, Pendelton and Bend, may also be affected. The storm is expected to bring heavy snowfall and strong winds to the region. The adverse weather conditions are liable to disrupt flights at airports in the region, including at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). Road travel is also likely to be impacted; travelers should maintain flexible itineraries.

Today through Wednesday, February 13, travelers in northeastern states, particularly New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania, should anticipate disruption related to the passage of a winter storm. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the region. Reports indicate that the storm could cause up to six inches of snowfall in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and up to 12 inches in New York. Travelers should plan journeys accounting for weather-related disruption.

Haiti 
Travelers in Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien, and other urban centers should minimize non-essential movement as anti-corruption demonstrations persist. Widespread opposition demonstrations demanding the removal of President Jovenel Moise have taken place since February 7. Participants have blocked roads and clashed with police, resulting in fatalities and injuries. Opposition leader Moise Jean Charles has said that protests will continue until the President steps down.

Venezuela 
Tomorrow and Wednesday, February 13, travelers should avoid nationwide protests by opposition groups due to the risk of unrest. Demonstrations have been called by Juan Guaido, the National Assembly-recognized interim President, and his supporters, to facilitate the passage of humanitarian aid into the country and demand the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro. While the largest gatherings are expected in Caracas, marches will also take place in urban centers throughout the country at 9:00 AM local time tomorrow. Travelers should avoid all gatherings due to the risk of violence.

AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST

Bahrain 
On Thursday, February 14, travelers in Bahrain should anticipate heightened security around the eighth anniversary of the 2011 Arab uprisings. Although protests have declined in recent years, several opposition groups have called for demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience. Beginning Wednesday, February 13, people have been advised to close their businesses, turn off their lights, and refrain from commercial transactions. Protests on Thursday, February 14 will likely remain small and limited to areas outside central areas of Manama. All gatherings should be avoided due to the credible potential for unrest.

Congo (DRC) 
Key response activities continue against the Ebola virus outbreak. Efforts continue to be challenged but have progressively resumed despite ongoing security issues. Ebola is spread by contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of infected or dead people. Healthcare workers, household members, and people participating in traditional funeral practices are at high risk. Non-essential travel to affected areas should be deferred. Travelers should prevent infection by paying strict attention to hygiene and avoiding contact with blood and body fluids. Travelers should not participate in traditional funerals or go to health facilities where Ebola patients are being treated.

Ethiopia 
Travelers in the North Gondar Zone should exercise caution following renewed clashes between the Qimant and Amhara communities. Numerous fatalities have been reported, and thousands have been displaced as a result of the violence, centered on Dembiya Woreda. Instances of kidnapping and looting have also been reported. Travelers are reminded of the need for precautions when traveling to rural parts of Ethiopia.

Iran 
Today, travelers in Tehran and other urban centers should anticipate disruption due to large celebrations throughout the country to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend marches in Tehran that will culminate in Azadi Square. Previous anniversaries have not seen significant security incidents and, while the date has traditionally been associated with anti-Western sentiment, foreigners are unlikely to be targeted by violence.

Kenya 
Yesterday, a fire broke out at the Leopard Beach Resort and Spaon Diani Beach in Kwale county. According to local authorities, the blaze started after fireworks landed on one of the hotel’s makuti-thatched cottages. The hotel’s guests have been evacuated, and no injuries have been reported. Travelers should continue to avoid the vicinity as clean-up efforts are ongoing; those staying at the hotel should follow all directives issued by emergency services responders.

Lebanon 
Travelers in Beirut should avoid several demonstrations against economic issues and the newly formed government. Today, several groups, including the Sabaa party and ‘You Stink’ movement, will gather in front of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education building at 9:00 AM local time. Tomorrow, the Communist Party has called for a protest in Riad el-Solh Square at 5:00 PM local time, while several groups have called for one in the same location on Sunday, February 17. Although most protests in Lebanon pass off peacefully, there may be traffic disruption in the vicinity.

Mauritius 
Travelers on Rodrigues Island should anticipate disruption due to damage caused by the passage of Tropical Cyclone Gelena. While the cyclone did not make landfall on the island, associated strong winds and heavy rainfall caused significant damage to power and communications infrastructure. Power and communication outages are reported to be ongoing, while debris has blocked several roads. Relief and clean-up operations are under way. Operations at Sir Gaetan Duval Airport (RRG), which serves Rodrigues Island, resumed yesterday afternoon, after being suspended earlier due to Gelena.

Nigeria 
Today, travelers in Port Harcourt should expect disruption around a campaign rally by the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at 10:00 AM local time at Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium. The road leading to the stadium is shared with Port Harcourt International Airport (PHC), and the presence of large crowds and heightened security mean that travelers should allow additional journey time to and from the airport. PDP Presidential candidate and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar will address the rally. There is a heightened risk of unrest during the event, especially if supporters of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) gather nearby.

On Wednesday, February 13, travelers in Abuja should expect significant disruption and minimize non-essential movement during two rival campaign rallies. Supporters of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party will gather at 8:00 AM local time at the National Stadium, where President Muhammadu Buhari will speak. The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has also called for a rally four miles away at the Old Parade Ground, with its candidate Atiku Abubakar. This comes after the PDP says it was blocked from going ahead with a rally at the same venue on February 9, sparking recriminations.

South Africa 
Today, travelers in Pretoria should avoid a planned demonstration outside the US Embassy, organized by the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party, over the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela. The gathering is scheduled to start at 12:00 PM local time on the corner of Pretorius Street and Orient Street. Although the protest is expected to pass off peacefully, it may cause local traffic disruption.

Sudan 
Non-essential travel to Sudan should be deferred amid ongoing anti-government protests. Travelers in country should continue to exercise caution, especially in urban centers, and avoid all demonstrations as a precaution. Yesterday, security forces used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters in multiple areas of Omdurman. Further anti-government demonstrations are likely in the coming days, including in Khartoum, as the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) has urged protesters to keep up the momentum. All related gatherings should be avoided due to the credible risk of unrest.

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

India 
Travelers in Saharanpur district should remain alert to the potential for protests related to a spurious liquor case. More than 100 people have thus far been killed after consuming spurious liquor in Saharanpur, Kushinagar, and Haridwar districts. Yesterday, hundreds of people blocked the Saharanpur-Muzaffarnagar Highway and attacked an alcohol shop in the Gagalhedi area of Saharanpur. Travelers should remain apprised of developments and avoid all protests as a precaution.

Yesterday, at least 11 people, including civilians, were injured in a grenade attack targeting a security force patrol in the Lal Chowk area of Srinagar. The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant group claimed responsibility for the attack. Separately, five suspected militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces earlier in the day in Kulgam district. The incidents underline persistent militancy in the Kashmir Valley and the need to minimize time spent near security force personnel and installations.

Travelers in Delhi should avoid rallies by political parties opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Today, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh state plans to hold a sit-in outside the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan building from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM local time. On February 13-14, the Chief Minister for West Bengal state will lead a ‘Save the Constitution’ rally in Delhi. Such gatherings are expected to draw large crowds and will have heightened security.

Today, travelers in the Kasmir Valley should expect significant disruption during a planned bandh (shutdown strike); all related demonstrations should be avoided as a precaution. Protesters are likely to gather at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk or march to the UN Observer mission office in the Sonwar area. The strike will mark the anniversary of the death of Maqbool Bhat, a prominent separatist figure executed and buried in 1984 inside Delhi’s Tihar Jail. Protesters led by the separatist Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) alliance will be calling for Bhat to be given ‘a proper burial’. A significant security presence can be expected.

Passengers of IndiGo should reconfirm schedules due to the potential of flight cancellations. On February 9-10, the airline canceled several flights to/from Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, and Kolkata. Around 30 more flights will likely be cancelled today. The airline alleges that the disruption, which has so far not affected the company’s international operation, is a result of poor weather in northern parts of India in recent days; however, local reports suggest that the flight cancellations are related to a shortage of pilots and other operational reasons.

Travelers in northeastern states should continue to avoid all protests over controversial legislation linked to undocumented migrants and tribal status. In Nagaland, several civil society groups will observe a 10-hour statewide shutdown strike to denounce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill today. On February 8-9, protests and a 12-hour shutdown strike were held during a visit to the region by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Police forcibly dispersed some of the gatherings in Asom state.

Japan 
Today, passengers transiting Tokyo via Narita (NRT) or Haneda (HND) international airports should expect disruption due to snowfall. On February 9, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, and Jetstar Japan cancelled more than 129 flights at the two airports. Earlier in the day, one runway at Narita Airport was briefly closed to clear snow. Further intermittent disruption to flights and airport operations can be expected during the ongoing winter season.

Kazakhstan 
Travelers in urban centers should avoid further demonstrations over the government’s response to a house fire in Astana that killed five children on February 4. Protests have occurred daily after the government failed to declare a National Day of Mourning. In Astana, protesters are demanding the resignation of the Minister of Labor and Social Protection, citing poor government regulations as the cause of the fire. Any unauthorized gatherings are likely to be forcibly dispersed by security forces, posing incidental risks to bystanders.

Myanmar 
An outbreak of measles has been confirmed in some areas in Yangon. Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Outbreaks occur frequently in under-vaccinated populations. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and a characteristic rash. Measles can result in serious complications, particularly when very young children, the elderly or pregnant women are infected. All travelers should ensure that they are fully immunized against measles.

Tonga 
Today, travelers in Tonga should continue to plan journeys accounting for residual disruption following the passage of former Tropical Cyclone Neil. Yesterday, all cyclone warnings were lifted by the Tonga Meteorological Service, but a Strong Wind Warning remains in force for ‘Eau, Tele-ki-Tonga, Tele-ki-Tokelau, and Tongatapu Islands. A Gale Warning has also been issued for the Niuas, Vava’u, and Ha’apai island groups, and a Heavy Rain and Flash Flood Advisory is in place for the Niuas. Authorities reported there was no known damage to infrastructure.

Turkey 
Travelers should avoid further possible protests by pro-Kurdish groups and political parties in support of hunger striking activists. On February 9, supporters gathered at the Yenisehir Tevfik Sirri Gur Stadium in Mersin. Today, activists in Istanbul staged a march and rally in Taksim Square. Further spontaneous demonstrations are possible throughout the country in the coming days, particularly on Friday, February 15, the 100th day of Kurdish MP Leyla Guven’s hunger strike. All events should be avoided as security forces are liable to forcibly disperse related demonstrations.

Turkmenistan 
On February 4, the European Aviation Safety Agency banned Turkmenistan Airlines from operating flights to Europe until it could prove that it meets international safety requirements. On February 6, the UK Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that some services to and from that country have been restored after Wamos Air, a Spanish licensed charter carrier, started operating flights on behalf of Turkmenistan Airlines. If affected, travelers are advised to contact FROSCH for further information on scheduled flights and to make alternative travel arrangements.

EUROPE

Regional 
On Thursday, February 14 and Saturday, February 16, travelers should plan itineraries bypassing a series of anti-genderviolence rallies to minimize inconvenience. Marches under the umbrella of the ‘One Billion Rising’ movement are planned in Berlin, Vienna, and Rome. Additional rallies are likely in regional cities in other Western European countries. Although the demonstrations are expected to be peaceful, they may be well attended and cause local disruption.

Travelers in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan should anticipate intermittent disruption linked to anonymous bomb threats. All such threats thus far have been confirmed to be hoaxes; however, such incidents require authorities to conduct investigations and prompt precautionary evacuations. These threats have affected universities, government buildings, airports and other transportation hubs, theaters, and schools. An anonymous threat on February 6 targeted the Afghan Embassy in Moscow, marking the first threat posed against a foreign diplomatic mission.

France 
Travelers in Paris should expect disruption on major routes during ongoing protests by driving schools in protest of shared-driving applications. Boulevard Peripherique has been particularly affected, though further protests are possible throughout the city.

Germany 
On Friday, February 15 and Sunday, February 17, travelers in Munich should expect enhanced security measures, demonstrations, and associated disruption during the annual Munich Security Conference. The area around the event venue, the Bayerischer Hof Hotel, will be cordoned-off from 6:00 AM local time on Friday, February 15 through 5:00 PM local time on Sunday, February 17. On Saturday, February 16, civil society organizations will hold a march from Karlsplatz to Marienplatz at 1:00 PM local time. Around 4,000 participants are expected.

Italy 
On Friday, February 15, travelers should reconfirm flights and anticipate disruption due to a 24-hour strike organized by the Italian Union of Flight Control and Assistance Union over layoffs and new training requirements. An estimated 70% of operations staff at airports across the country are expected to participate in the strike, which is scheduled to take place from 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM local time. Travelers should anticipate severe delays and widespread cancellations.

Portugal 
On Thursday, February 14 and Friday, February 15, travelers should anticipate disruption and reconfirm travel itineraries during a general strike over low wages called by the General Union of Workers (UGT) and the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP). In Lisbon, a protest is due to take place on Thursday, February 14 outside the Ministry of Finance, located on Rua da Alfandega. The strike is expected to affect all sectors, including public transportation.

Romania 
On February 13 and 14, travelers in urban centers should plan journeys accounting for disruption during nationwide protests by taxi drivers against app-based ride-share services Uber and Taxify. In Constanta, taxi drivers will protest from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM local time in front of the Constanta County Prefecture building. In Bucharest, precedent indicates that taxi drivers will park their vehicles on Lascar Catargiu Boulevard.

Spain 
Travelers in Madrid and the Catalonia autonomous community should avoid all protests over the trial of imprisoned proCatalan independence politicians. Catalan pro-independence parties have called for protests tomorrow at Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona at 6:00 PM local time and in front of the Supreme Court building in Madrid during the trial. In Barcelona, a related march is planned for Saturday, February 16 at 5:00 PM local time from Plaza Espanya to Plaza Universitat. A general strike is scheduled to begin on February 21.

Ukraine 
Travelers in Lviv should anticipate and avoid further miners’ protests. On February 6, a march through the city center by the Regional Association of Independent Miners’ Trade Unions passed off peacefully but caused prolonged traffic disruption. As well as protesting salary arrears, miners are demonstrating against a planned transfer of several mines to the National Coal Company, with concerns that the transfer could lead to job losses. Organizers have vowed to stage further disruptive rallies until their wages are paid and wider demands met.

United Kingdom 
Travelers in London should plan journeys bypassing further demonstrations by taxi, minicab, and private-hire drivers. Such events can take place with little or no warning and result in significant disruption in the city center, including during rush hour. Previous protests have affected Oxford Circus and adjacent Regent Street, the Westminster area, the vicinity of Bank Junction, London Bridge, Tottenham Court Road, and the Transport for London (TfL) headquarters on Blackfriars Road. A further gathering is planned around London Bridge from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM local time today.

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