Business Travel Advisory
Tropical Storm Dorian
Dorian is a Category 2 hurricane and is forecast to intensify into a powerful Category 4, posing a prolonged danger that may last days in the southeastern United States. As of this morning, Dorian’s center is located about 255 miles east-northeast of the southeastern Bahamas, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.
A hurricane watch has been issued for the northwestern Bahamas, meaning hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours. In the northwestern Bahamas, the risk of life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds continues to increase. Rainfall totals of 6 to 12 inches are expected, with isolated amounts of 15 inches in the northwestern Bahamas, which may cause flash flooding. Central Bahamas can expect 1 to 2 inches, with isolated rain fall totals of up to 4 inches. Storm surge may cause water levels to be as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal tide level in areas of onshore winds in the northwestern Bahamas.
Today, Dorian’s center is expected to track to the north and east of the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas. Dorian will strengthen and will likely become a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) later today. Dorian will bend west northwest to west by early tomorrow, and it is expected to slow its forward motion. Dorian will likely begin to impact the northwestern Bahamas by tomorrow night or early September 1. Dorian will continue to slow down as it approaches and begins to impact the southeastern US, most likely somewhere between Florida and southeastern Georgia; however, areas as far north as the Carolinas should also monitor for potential impacts from Dorian. Dorian’s slow movement could allow it to continue impacting the Florida Peninsula and possibly other parts of the Southeast into the middle part of next week.
Coastal sections of the Southeast could see at least 6 to 12 inches of rain, according to the National Hurricane Center. Dorian’s slower movement as it nears the coast could cause major flooding. Destructive winds and life-threatening storm surge flooding will likely impact the east coast of Florida or some other part of the Southeast late this weekend into early next week. In addition, the highest high tides of the year, known as “king tides,” are expected this weekend in parts of Florida. King tides occur several times a year, and when combined with a major weather system, the floodwater inundation can be much more significant.
Uncertainty continues to be high when it comes to exact forecast impacts in the southeastern US; however, travelers in the Bahamas, the northern Gulf Coast, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas should have their hurricane plans ready and monitor the forecast of Dorian closely.
Today, travelers in Buenos Aires and Comodoro Rivadavia should anticipate disruption during teachers’ protests. In Buenos Aires, demonstrators will gather at 7:00 AM local time at the Obelisk monument. Participants in Comodoro Rivadavia will gather at 11:00 AM local time at the Carrero Patagonico monument and march towards the Education Ministry office. The protests are being held over salary issues and cuts to education.
Fires in the Amazon rain forest have affected air quality in several parts of the country. The northwestern states of Acre, Amazonas, Para, Rondonia, and Roraima are worst-affected. 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 and lung disease (high-risk groups) 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 September 1, travelers in Mexico should anticipate disruption during nationwide demonstrations called by the “Chalecos” activist movement against President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s administration. In Mexico City, demonstrators plan to gather at the Angel de la Independencia at 11:00 AM local time, before marching to the Monumento a la Revolucion. Similar rallies are expected to take place in other major urban centers. The gatherings are likely to pass off peacefully but may exacerbate traffic congestion and cause travel delays.
Travelers in Caracas and other urban centers should strictly avoid opposition demonstrations tomorrow due to the risk of unrest. The protests have been called by Juan Guaido, the National Assembly-recognized interim President. While details have not been released, activists are likely to demonstrate outside government buildings and may erect roadblocks on key routes.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Tomorrow, travelers in Ouagadougou should plan routes bypassing gatherings over recent militant attacks. Unions and civil society groups have called for nationwide protests to denounce government policies on terrorism. Protesters in Ouagadougou will gather at the Bourse du Travail at 8:00 AM local time and in Conseil Burkinabe des Chargeurs at 3:00 PM local time.
Polio cases due to strains of “circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2” (cVDPV2) have been reported in many provinces. The cVDPV strain can emerge in under vaccinated populations. Polio is a contagious viral illness that causes paralysis and death. The infection is spread through ingestion of contaminated food or water, or directly from an infected person. Travelers are advised to prevent infection by ensuring polio vaccination is up to date.
An outbreak of Ebola continues in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, with spread into South Kivu. Key response activities continue to be challenged by security issues. Ebola is spread by contact with the blood or other bodily fluids (including vomit and diarrhea) of infected or dead people. Healthcare workers, household members, and people participating in traditional funeral practices (touching the body) are at high risk. Travelers are advised to continue to defer non-essential travel to affected areas, and to prevent infection by paying strict attention to hygiene and avoiding contact with blood and body fluids.
Through tomorrow, travelers in Kenya should expect heightened security and related disruption around a national census. Unruly protests on August 15 occurred in Nairobi’s Westlands constituency, as well as in Kiambu county, over alleged favoritism towards civil servants and corruption in the hiring process for census-takers. Security forces dispersed the rallies with tear gas. Although authorities have taken measures to reduce perceived favoritism, and most census exercises will be conducted during the first two days, residual disruption and related demonstrations remain possible throughout this period.
Between September 6-10, travelers in Antananarivo should anticipate disruption and allow extra time for journeys to the airport during an official visit by Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope will arrive in Antananarivo Airport (TNR) from Mozambique at 4:30 PM local time on September 6. He will visit Mauritius on September 9 and fly back to Madagascar on the same day, returning to Italy on September 10. The visit is expected to cause disruption, with more than 500,000 people and traffic restrictions expected in and around areas of the pontiff’s itinerary.
In the coming days, travelers in urban centers should avoid all demonstrations by the Shia Muslim Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) due to the risk of unrest. The group has resumed regular protests over the imprisonment of its leader Ibrahim El Zakzaky, who was taken into custody again following his return from India on August 16. Previous related protests have been occasionally forcefully dispersed by police.
Over the coming days, travelers in Sierra Leone should avoid political gatherings linked to the August 24 by-election in Western Area Rural district, south of Freetown. The poll results were subsequently cancelled by the National Electoral Commission (NEC), following an attack on a polling station and the destruction of related materials. The electoral cycle proceeded amid outbreaks of political violence and heightened tensions between the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) and the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). The developments highlight the risk of local election related unrest, which can pose indirect risks to bystanders.
Travelers in and around the central business district (CBD) of Pretoria over the coming days should exercise caution amid heightened tensions over reported drug activity in the area. On August 29, a protest by taxi drivers in the Sunnyside neighborhood descended into clashes; police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse crowds. Traffic in the area was also temporarily blocked. Similarly, on August 27, taxi drivers clashed with suspected drug dealers, hijacked buses, looted shops, and blocked roads in the CBD.
Travelers due to fly with state-owned carrier SA Express should reconfirm their flights after the airline suspended several services today, citing operational reasons. While SA Express has said that affected passengers have been contacted and alternative arrangements made, it is unclear when its services will normalize.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Travelers in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia should anticipate heightened security and a potential increase in violence targeting Shia Muslim religious sites during the Islamic holy month of Muharram. The first month of the Islamic calendar, Muharram will begin this year on September 1, with the Ashura festival (the tenth day of Muharram) on September 10, though the dates may vary depending on location. Related events and associated risks also differ from country to country; however, there is a particular precedent for militant attacks on Shia religious sites in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On September 1-2, travelers in urban centers, including Dhaka, should avoid events celebrating the anniversary of the establishment of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) as a precaution. A large gathering is planned at the party founder’s grave in Chandrima Udyan in Dhaka at 10:00 AM local time on September 1. The BNP is also planning nationwide rallies calling for the release of its jailed leader Khaleda Zia, including at the party’s headquarters in Naya Paltan in Dhaka, on the same day. Traffic disruption is likely on nearby routes, including VIP and Shahid Syed Nazrul Islam Sharani roads.
Through tomorrow, travelers in the southern provinces of Hainan, Guangxi, and Guangdong should continue to plan journeys accounting for disruption related to the passage of Tropical Storm Podul. The weather system passed south of Sanya to make landfall in Vietnam early today; associated heavy rainfall and strong winds were reported throughout Hainan and in parts of Guangdong province, including Zhanjiang. Yesterday, more than 220 flights were cancelled at Sanya Phoenix International Airport (SYX).
Tomorrow, travelers in Hong Kong should continue to reconfirm the status of routes and plan journeys avoiding protests related to an extradition bill. The Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) has cancelled a planned demonstration on the day, following unsuccessful appeals against a police ban imposed on safety grounds. Participants were due to march from Chater Garden to the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government at 2:00 PM local time. Given the decentralized nature of the protest movement, some may still proceed with rallies on the day.
More than a dozen industries have threatened to strike on September 2-3 to push the Hong Kong government to reply to the protester’s five demands related to the anti-extradition bill by the end of the month. A sit-in protest would be called for in Salisbury Garden in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, and in Tamar Park in Admiralty, Hong Kong, at 1:30 PM local time on September 2; the protest would extend into September 3, culminating with a tentatively scheduled protest at Chater Garden. A total of 21 sectors, including allied health, dentistry, social welfare, information technology, insurance, retailing, logistics, construction, engineering, aviation, banking, finance, accounting, advertising, marketing, music, arts, design and culture, and hotel and tourism said they would advise their members to go on strike if the government fails to reply by tomorrow. Additionally, the Hong Kong Secondary Students Union also announced that students from more than 90 schools across the city would be joining a class boycott starting September 3.
Floods, due to heavy rainfall, have affected several states. Health risks associated with flooding include injury, diarrheal disease, skin infections, insect-borne diseases, and seasonal influenza. There can be potential food and water shortages. Travelers are advised to remain alert and follow the advice of the local authorities.
In the coming days, travelers in Jayapura should continue to avoid all gatherings amid heightened tensions. Yesterday, several thousand demonstrators occupied the Provincial Governor’s office and set government buildings on fire to protest perceived discrimination against ethnic-Papuan students. Protests occurred in the city center of Jayapura and in Abepura, Entrop, Kotaraja, Sentani and Waena. Protesters also occupied the Sentani-Jayapura motorway, which leads to Jayapura’s Sentani Airport (DJJ). Today, schools and commercial activities were closed in affected areas throughout Jayapura, with many locals remaining at home.
Today, travelers in Jakarta should anticipate disruption during a protest by drivers of ride-share service Go-Jek outside the Embassy of Malaysia at 2:00 PM local time. Around 10,000 drivers are expected to participate in the protest, which is being held against derogatory comments reportedly issued by the founder of a Malaysian taxi company about Indonesia and Go-Jek drivers.
Travelers in northern areas of Kyushu Island should defer non-essential travel to locations affected by heavy rain, flooding, and possible landslides until at least tomorrow. Those planning to undertake essential travel should ascertain the feasibility of journeys with local contacts and account for disruption. Yesterday, authorities issued a “special warning” (highest on a five-tier scale) for flooding and landslides in Saga, Fukuoka, and Nagasaki prefectures. An evacuation advisory (level 4 of 5) has also been issued for these prefectures.
Through tomorrow, travelers transiting Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) should anticipate disruption during planned airspace closures and reconfirm flights accordingly. The airspace will be closed between 9:00 AM and 10:30 AM local time during this period in preparation for the country’s 62nd National Day fly-past. At least 500 flights are due to be affected as a consequence. National carrier Malaysian Airlines has advised passengers to arrive at least four hours before departure to avoid delays.
In the coming weeks, travelers in urban centers should monitor developments regarding anti-Japan protests that have been occurring in Seoul and Busan City. This comes amid ongoing trade tensions between the two countries and calls for a boycott of Japanese products and travel to Japan. Thousands of people participated in related protests on August 14 outside the Japanese Embassy and on August 15, at Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul. Travelers should anticipate local disruption during any further gatherings.
Between September 1-10, travelers in Colombo should expect heightened security measures and related disruption during the Bohra Global Conference organized by the Dawoodi Muslim Bohra community. Around 25,000 visitors and 3,000 volunteers are expected to attend the event, which will be held in Bambalapitiya neighborhood, at the Bohra headquarters including Husaini Masjid and Qutbi Hall. Increased security measures, including traffic diversions, checkpoints and patrols, can be expected around the event. Travelers should also anticipate a heightened demand for transport and accommodations.
Travelers should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption until at least September 1, during the passage of former Tropical Storm Podul. The weather system, now a tropical depression, made landfall on today in Nakhon Phanom province. Heavy rain and strong winds linked to Podul’s passage have already caused flooding, infrastructural damage, and traffic disruption in several areas, including Nakhon Phanom and Phrae provinces. The Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) has warned of further flash flooding across the country which may render overland travel difficult, particularly in northern and northeastern areas.
Travelers in central provinces should anticipate disruption and maintain flexible itineraries until at least tomorrow during the passage of Tropical Storm Podul. The weather system is expected to make landfall tomorrow between Ha Tinh and Da Nang City. Intermittent heavy rainfall and strong winds will affect central provinces beginning today, likely disrupting transport. Flash floods and landslides may also cause short-notice disruption to overland journeys.
A fire has been reported in a warehouse in central Hanoi. Some people have reported symptoms due to suspected exposure to chemicals. Anyone in the affected area should follow the advice of local authorities. Travelers are advised to minimize exposure to the affected area; if related symptoms develop, seek medical help.
Travelers flying with Ryanair in coming weeks should continue to anticipate disruption despite the cancellation of one of several planned strikes over conditions and announced layoffs. The Irish High Court issued an injunction on August 21 to stop the airline’s Irish pilots walking out on August 22-23. Some UK pilots will take part in a similar strike on September 2-4, though Ryanair has said that its UK flights will not be affected. Spain-based employees plan to walk out on September 1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 28.
Travelers in urban centers should continue to avoid weekly Saturday protests by the Yellow Vests movement, due to the risk of local unrest. The next gatherings are scheduled for tomorrow. While the major event is due to take place from a roundabout leading to Ferney-Voltaire in the eastern part of the country before heading towards Geneva, Switzerland, additional gatherings in main urban centers, including Paris, are likely. The latest protests on August 24 attracted only a few hundred participants and passed off peacefully.
Between September 1 and October 15, travelers flying with Transavia, the low-cost arm of Air France-KLM, should monitor developments and reconfirm their flights if a strike by the airline’s French pilots goes ahead. The SPL labor union, which accounts for nearly one-third of Transavia pilots, has announced the walkout over pay and contracts.
On September 3, travelers in Tbilisi should plan routes bypassing a protest outside the Parliament building from 11:00 AM local time. The demonstration will coincide with the resumption of Parliament after the summer recess and has been called to reflect participants’ dissatisfaction with lawmakers’ perceived idleness. The event is also linked to sustained protests since June 20 over a Russian MP’s appearance in the Georgian Parliament. Participants are calling for Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s resignation over the police response to the initial demonstration overnight on June 20-21.
Today, travelers in Moscow should avoid a planned protest at an unspecified time on Khokhlovskaya Square due to the credible risk of unrest. Authorities have not issued an official permit for the demonstration, which is being held to demand the release of students arrested in previous protests. Travelers should continue to monitor developments and avoid all unauthorized gatherings due to the risk of heavy handed tactics to disperse crowds.
Tomorrow, travelers in Moscow should avoid a planned opposition rally due to the credible risk of unrest. The march, intended to proceed at 2:00 PM local time from Chistyye Prudy metro station to Pushkinskaya Square, has been refused an official permit, according to one of the organizers, Lyubov Sobol. She is among the unregistered candidates for the Moscow City Duma elections on September 8 calling for free and fair polls. Travelers should continue to monitor developments and avoid all unauthorized gatherings due to the risk of heavy-handed tactics to disperse crowds and mass arrests.
Travelers in Belgrade and other urban centers should avoid weekly anti-government demonstrations on Saturday evenings. Regular protests against President Aleksandar Vucic and his ruling party have taken place since December 2018 and have broadened to include calls for greater media freedom and electoral reform. Tomorrow, a related rally is scheduled in Belgrade from 7:00 PM local time at the Terazije Fountain. Scuffles between police and protesters are possible, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Tomorrow and Sunday, September 1, ground staff at Barcelona’s El Prat Airport (BCN) will strike, affecting flight operations. Spain’s largest airline, Vueling, has cancelled more than 100 scheduled flights, while Iberia Airlines has cancelled at least six flights so far. Additionally, Spanish trade union UGT has called on Iberia ground staff at Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD) to strike tomorrow and Sunday, September 1. The union’s main demands are more full-time contracts, training, and the use of new vehicles. Travelers are advised to reconfirm flights if transiting BCN or MAD August 31 or September 1.
Tomorrow, travelers in Geneva should avoid a joint French-Swiss protest by the Yellow Vests movement, due to the risk of local unrest. Participants will gather in front of the UN headquarters at Place des Nations in Geneva at 4:00 PM local time.
After a breakdown in negotiations over a pay dispute, the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) announced a three-day strike in September. The strike will likely cause severe disruption for British Airways, as BALPA represents about 90% of the airline’s pilots. Pilots affiliated with BALPA will strike on September 9, 10, and 27. British Airways has issued waivers for those passengers ticketed to travel during the period of industrial action. Travelers are advised to reconfirm their bookings and avoid booking new British Airways flights for travel September 9, 10, and 27.
Today, travelers in London and other urban centers should plan journeys bypassing nationwide #StoptheCoup protests against the suspension of Parliament to minimize inconvenience. The Queen’s Privy Council on August 28 approved Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s request to suspend Parliament from early September until October 14. This triggered calls for protests by the “Another Europe is Possible” campaign group, including a well-attended gathering outside Parliament on August 28. Related protests in the coming days are expected to be well-attended and are liable to cause travel disruption