Business Travel Advisory – 2/18/19

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THE AMERICAS

United States
Today, passengers transiting Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Midway International Airport (MDW) should reconfirm flights due to inclement weather. As of this morning, 97 flights had been canceled at O’Hare International Airport, and another 22 flights had been grounded at Midway International Airport.

Regional 
An ongoing outbreak of salmonellosis has affected over 200 people across the United States and Canada. In the US, several raw turkey products have been recalled; however, the bacteria is possibly affecting multiple facilities, suppliers, brands, and products containing raw turkey. In Canada, both raw turkey and raw chicken are implicated. Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, usually between 12 and 72 hours after exposure; occasionally, severe illness can occur. Travelers should prevent infection by paying attention to hygiene and ensure poultry is thoroughly cooked.

Argentina 
Today, travelers in Buenos Aires should avoid a rally in the Palermo area as a precaution. According to an alert issued by the US Embassy, participants plan to gather at 5:00 PM local time at Plaza Italia and march near the US Diplomatic Mission. The alert further says that police expect more than 500 people to participate in the gathering. The protest is being organized to denounce US policies, including its involvement in the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela.

Canada 
Tomorrow and Wednesday, February 20, travelers in Ottawa should plan routes bypassing planned rallies at Parliament Hill by truck drivers protesting against the government’s energy policies. Participants departed from Red Deer in a convoy on February 14 and are currently en route to Ottawa. Tomorrow’s rally is set to take place between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM local time, while the event on Wednesday, February 20 will be held between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM local time.

Haiti 
All travel to Haiti should be deferred in the coming days due to violent and disruptive anti-government demonstrations. Travelers already in-country, particularly in Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien and other urban centers, should continue to minimize movement. Widespread opposition demonstrations demanding President Jovenel Moise’s removal have taken place since February 7. Opposition leader Moise Jean Charles has threatened further protests until the President steps down, while some demonstrations have called for international support.

Mexico 
On Wednesday, February 20 and Thursday, February 21, travelers should anticipate and avoid protests by taxi drivers against government policy relating to the app-based ride-share service provider Uber. Taxi drivers intend to rally at 6:00 AM local time on Wednesday, February 20 in front of the National Palace ahead of a meeting with officials of Mexico City’s Mobility Secretariat on Thursday, February 21. While the exact time of this meeting has not yet been announced, protests in the vicinity of the Secretariat are likely on the day.

Venezuela 
Travelers in Venezuela should continue to minimize non-essential movement while the protracted political crisis and associated unrest persist. The opposition is calling for President Nicolas Maduro to step down in favor of Juan Guaido, the National Assembly-recognized interim President. Guaido has outlined plans for the arrival of humanitarian aid, scheduled for February 23, which has thus far been blocked by Maduro. Nationwide protests over this action may take place in the coming days. Such events, which are likely to focus on border areas, and all other political gatherings should be avoided as a precaution.

AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST

Egypt 
From February 20-24, travelers in Cairo and other urban centers should anticipate disruption to app-based ride-share services. Drivers of these services will observe a strike on these days to demand higher fees and changes to cancellation policies. Related gatherings are possible but likely to remain local and small in scale, due to authorities’ harsh stance on protests.

Travelers in Sharm al-Sheikh should expect a heightened security force presence and disruption around an international summit on February 24-25. The EU-League of Arab States Summit, which will be held at the International Congress Center, is due to be attended by regional and European dignitaries, including President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. A visibly increased security force presence can be anticipated, as well as the establishment of checkpoints, cordons, road closures and traffic diversions.

Congo (DRC) 
Today, travelers in Goma should avoid a planned rally by the opposition Lamuka coalition at Afya Stadium. A related, well-attended gathering on February 15 at ITAV Stadium in Butembo passed off peacefully. The rallies follow demands by Martin Fayulu, Lamuka’s defeated Presidential candidate, for a rerun of the recent Presidential Election. The Goma event, which will also be led by Fayulu, is expected to attract a significant turnout.

Kenya 
Travelers are reminded to implement enhanced precautions for travel to Turkana and West Pokot counties after a series of security incidents over the past week exacerbated communal tensions in the region. Instances of inter-communal violence, cattle rustling, and highway banditry between February 11 and 17 triggered protests in Kapenguria on February 16. Yesterday, a pastor was killed in Sarmach, and roadblocks were reportedly erected by bandits on the A1 Highway. Travelers should exercise caution.

Morocco 
On Wednesday, February 20, travelers in Rabat should avoid an annual anti-austerity protest as a precaution. The demonstration and a nationwide strike have been called by labor unions over various socio-economic grievances, including the rising cost of basic services and goods, the abolition of free education, wage freezes and inequality. Although details of the demonstration are not yet available, protests are usually held outside government offices, including in front of the Parliament building.

Nigeria 
Movement can continue with caution after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed Presidential and Parliamentary Elections until February 23 and Gubernatorial and State Assembly Elections until March 9. Nonessential travel should be deferred until March 18, and travelers in country should minimize movement on polling days due to the risk of election-related violence. The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has called for nationwide protests against the postponement today. While the situation is currently calm, all related demonstrations should be avoided as a precaution.

Oman 
More cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported in Oman. The virus is present in camels and can be transmitted to people who have direct contact with camels or consume raw camel products. Transmission within hospitals sometimes occurs. Overall the risk to travelers is low if precautions are taken. Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and practice good general hygiene. Travelers should also avoid contact with camels and not eat or drink raw camel products.

Somalia 
Today, travelers in Mogadishu should reconfirm the feasibility of movement due to the closure of Makkah Almukarramah Avenue. Authorities have also closed several adjacent roads since 6:30 AM local time, causing significant disruption.

South Africa 
Today, travelers in Durban should avoid a march from Durban University of Technology to City Hall by local student organizations demanding improved living conditions and financial aid. This morning, police dispersed protesting students who had thrown furniture out of high-rise buildings and set it on fire along Hospital Road in the South Beach area. Police also used tear gas and rubber bullets at Mangosuthu University of Technology to disperse unruly student protests. Travelers should anticipate heightened security around the march and avoid it due to possible unrest.

Tomorrow, travelers in Cape Town should plan routes bypassing a protest by the COSATU union federation over a range of economic grievances. Participants will march from Keizersgracht Street to the Parliament building and the Chamber of Commerce at 9:00 AM local time. Related countrywide marches on February 13 passed off peacefully.

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

Bangladesh 
An ongoing annual Muslim gathering, Biswa Ijtema, has been extended through tomorrow in Dhaka division. The congregation, which was due to conclude today, is being held on the banks of the Turag River in Tongi town, 14 miles north of Dhaka. Biswa Ijtema is the second-largest congregation of Muslims worldwide, and hundreds of thousands of people have gathered at the venue this year. Travelers should expect considerable disruption and heightened security around Tongi.

India 
Today, travelers in Delhi should avoid a rally in the city center by various leftist student organizations. Participants plan to march at 8:00 AM local time from Ramlila Maidan to the Parliament building. Multiple student groups, including the Students’ Federation of India, have organized the rally to denounce the government’s education policies. Any attempt by students to cross security cordons around Parliament is likely to attract a forceful police response, posing incidental risks to bystanders.

Tomorrow and Wednesday, February 20, travelers in Delhi should expect heightened security and associated disruption during a state visit by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. Measures include traffic restrictions across the city, particularly around the Central Secretariat, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official residence, and the Saudi Arabian Embassy. Severe traffic congestion can be expected, especially during VIP movement. Routes likely to be affected include those around the aforementioned locations, as well as routes connecting Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) with central Delhi.

Today, travelers should avoid all protests and expect disruption during a nationwide bandh (shutdown strike). The action has been organized by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in protest of an attack on security forces in the Kashmir Valley. Given the emotive nature of the issue, the strike is likely to be well observed across the country.

Tomorrow, travelers in Karnataka state should expect disruption and avoid protests linked to a statewide bandh (shutdown strike). The industrial action has been called by Vatal Nagaraj, a pro-Kannada activist, to condemn a recent militant attack in the Kashmir Valley. The bandh is expected to last from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM local time. While the exact extent of the strike’s likely impact is unclear, demonstrations and disruption to travel and commercial activity are possible across the state, including in Bangalore.

New Caledonia 
Today through Wednesday, February 20, travelers in New Caledonia should expect heavy rainfall, strong winds, and associated disruption during the passage of Tropical Cyclone Oma. On its current trajectory, Oma is not expected to make landfall on the territory but will pass northwest of the Belep Islands tomorrow and Wednesday, February 20. Short-notice disruption to flights, particularly at Malabou Airport (PUV) and Koumac Airport (KOC), is possible.

Pakistan 
Today, travelers in Islamabad and Rawalpindi should expect heightened security and associated disruption during a visit by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. Responsibility for security arrangements during the visit has been assumed by the Army; authorities have imposed Section 144 Prohibitory Orders, banning the assembly of five or more people, in Rawalpindiuntil through February 21 as a precaution. Accommodation shortages are likely, as at least eight hotels in Islamabad have been reserved for the visit.

Vanuatu 
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Sanma and Malampa provinces should anticipate residual disruption related to the passage of Tropical Cyclone Oma. The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) has lifted all Oma-related alerts for the two provinces. While the cyclone continues to move away from the archipelago, the VMGD has warned of heavy rainfall, flash flooding, and rough sea conditions in Sanma and Malampa. Flight disruption remains possible at Port Vila’s Bauerfield International Airport (VLI).

EUROPE

Ukraine 
Today, travelers in Kiev should avoid a protest organized by far-right groups due to the risk of unrest. Participants will gather at 6:00 PM local time on Kriposnyi Lane, before marching toward the nearby Ministry of Internal Affairs building. The event has been organized to demand law enforcement reform, especially with regards to the policing of protests and rallies. The gathering comes after several far-right activists clashed with police during a rally on February 9 in Kiev’s Kontraktova Square.

Tomorrow through Thursday, February 21, travelers in Kiev should anticipate and avoid gatherings commemorating the “Euromaidan” protests in February 2014 that led to the ousting of then-President Viktor Yanukovych. Most events are likely to be scheduled for Wednesday, February 20, which is a day of commemoration for demonstrators killed in clashes with security forces during the protests, though rallies may also take place on surrounding days. Gatherings and marches can be expected in central Kiev, including on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Khreschatyk Street, Heavenly Hundred Alley, and Instytutska Street.

United Kingdom 
Today, travelers in London should plan journeys accounting for disruption during a protest by private-hire drivers. The demonstration is scheduled to take place from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM local time around London Bridge. The drivers are denouncing changes to a congestion charge, which will come into effect in April. They claim that this will significantly affect their take-home pay and have vowed to continue with protests until the issue is resolved. Previous demonstrations by private-hire and minicab drivers caused significant disruption in the Westminster and Bank areas, as well as around Parliament Square, Tottenham Court Road and the Transport for London headquarters.

Regional airline flybmi has fallen into administration as financial pressures overwhelm another European carrier. The airline had operated a fleet of 19 Embraer aircraft, offering 600 scheduled flights per week across a network of 44 European destinations. The company employed a staff of 376 employees spread across the UK, Germany, Sweden, and Belgium. All flights have been canceled with immediate effect.

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