Business Travel Advisory
Hurricane Dorian, currently a Category 2 hurricane, is moving up the northeast coast of Florida, bringing flooding, high winds, and rain. It will continue north, affecting coastal areas of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and southeast Virginia in the coming days.
Tropical-storm-force winds (over 39 mph) now extend up to 175 miles from the eye of Dorian and have registered in Juno Beach since yesterday afternoon. Indian River reported a sustained wind of 40 mph with a gust of 51 mph last night, which a 69 mph wind gust was reported in New Smyrna Beach this morning. Hurricane-force winds (over 74 mph) extend up to 60 miles from its eye.
Major beach erosion has already occurred at Flagler Beach and Vero Beach, according to the National Weather Service, and damage to homes has been reported on Hutchinson Island. Water levels were 3 inches over the seawall in Palm Coast this morning.
Storm Surge Warnings (a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline during the next 36 hours) are in place from Sebastian Inlet, FL to Surf City, NC including Daytona Beach, Jacksonville Beach, St. Simons Island, Tybee Island, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Wilmington.
Storm Surge Watches (a life-threatening inundation is possible during the next 48 hours) are in effect from North of Surf City, NC to Poquoson, VA, including Hampton Roads; Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, as well as the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers of eastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks, Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Hurricane Warnings (74-plus mph winds are either already occurring or expected within 36 hours) are in place from the Volusia/Brevard County line to Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, as well as the entire South Carolina coast to Surf City, NC, including Hilton Head Island, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Wilmington.
Hurricane Watches (generally posted 48 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are expected, with hurricane-force winds possible) have been issued from north of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL to the Savannah River at the border between Georgia and South Carolina; north of Surf City, NC to the North Carolina/Virginia border; Albemarle and Pamlico sounds in North Carolina, as well as Savannah and the Outer Banks.
Tropical Storm Warnings (39 mph winds are expected within 36 hours) are in effect from Sebastian Inlet to the Volusia/Brevard County line; north of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL to the Savannah River at the border between Georgia and South Carolina. The warning area includes Jacksonville and Orlando.
Tropical Storm Watches (tropical-storm-force winds are possible within 48 hours) is in place from the North Carolina/Virginia border to Chincoteague, VA, as well as along the Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point, including Norfolk.
All inbound travel to Abaco, Berry, Bimini and Grand Bahama islands should be deferred during Hurricane Dorian’s passage. Travelers remaining on these islands should stand fast today. Dorian has weakened slightly into a Category 2 Hurricane (second-highest on a five-tier scale); however, life-threatening winds and flooding will continue to affect the aforementioned islands today. Catastrophic damage has already been reported, including widespread electricity and telecommunications outages. A Tropical Storm Warning, issued by the US National Hurricane Center, is in effect for Grand Bahama and Abaco.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Today through Friday, September 6, travelers in Maputo should anticipate disruption during official visits by Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis will then visit Port Louis on September 9. Heightened security, large crowds, and traffic restrictions can be expected in and around areas of the Pontiff’s itinerary; disruption at airports is also likely during the Pope’s arrival and departure.
Travelers in urban centers should avoid protests over attacks on Nigerians in South Africa and exercise caution around South African interests, including businesses and diplomatic missions. In Abuja, activists reportedly plan to occupy outlets of a South African supermarket chain today. A related protest will start at 9:00 AM local time tomorrow at Abuja’s Unity Fountain, with participants likely marching through the Central Business District toward the South African High Commission. Protests are also likely in Lagos, especially around the South African Consulate on Victoria Island and the South Africa Visa Application Center in Lekki.
Today, passengers transiting Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport (ABV) should allow additional travel time due to ongoing unruly protests affecting Airport Road. Demonstrators are gathered at a South African-owned supermarket outlet at Novare Gateway Mall in protest of recent violence with xenophobic undertones in South Africa. Police have reportedly used tear gas to disperse the crowd and have been deployed along Airport Road, causing disruption.
Yesterday, authorities confirmed the interception of a drone launched by the Yemen-based Houthi group that was reportedly targeting civilian assets in Khamis Mushait. Separately, three missiles were intercepted over Najran City. While these latest incidents demonstrate the capability of Saudi Air Defenses to intercept most projectiles, they also illustrate the Houthis’ continued intent to launch attacks into Saudi Arabia.
Travelers in Cape Town should avoid the vicinity of the Cape Town International Convention Center (CTICC) due to ongoing unruly protests. Riot police have fired stun grenades in an attempt to control protesters who reportedly attempted to force entry to the CTICC, where the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa Summit is ongoing. Protesters have also tried to block the nearby N2 Highway.
Today, travelers in Lusaka should continue to avoid the vicinity of East Park Mall and nearby Great E Road due to an ongoing unruly student protest. Protesters have vandalized and set fire to nearby shops; businesses in the area are closing. The unrest is related to recent violence with xenophobic undertones in South Africa. Police are on the scene; any scuffles between protesters and police would pose an incidental risk to bystanders.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Today, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that the government will formally withdraw the controversial extradition bill, meeting one of the five protester demands. Spontaneous celebratory gatherings and protests calling for the government to meet other demands may occur tonight. Gatherings are likely around key flashpoint locations, including Chater Garden, Tamar Park and Edinburgh Place. Travelers should continue to monitor developments and avoid all related gatherings.
Travelers in Kabul should anticipate further protests near the Green Village compound in Police District 9. This follows a Taliban attack that killed at least 16 people and injured 116 on September 2. Yesterday, residents around the compound protested the presence of foreign nationals; police fired live ammunition to disperse crowds that had climbed over the compound’s walls. There is a heightened security force presence in the area.
A human case of bird flu H5N6 has been reported in Beijing. Bird flu can cause a mild to severe respiratory illness which may be fatal. Most people who have been infected have had direct exposure to birds. There is no suggestion of an outbreak of human to human spread. The risk of infection in the general population appears to be low. Travelers should prevent infection by paying attention to hygiene and avoiding contact with birds and their environment.
Today through September 30, travelers in urban centers should expect heightened security during the Islamic holy month of Muharram. Mosques, imambargahs, religious processions, and densely populated locations including market places should be avoided during this period due to the increased risk of militant attacks and sectarian violence. This risk is higher on September 9-10 during Ashura, the tenth day of Muharram, which commemorates the death of Imam Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, a revered figure in Shia Islam.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Taiwan, including Taipei, should continue to plan journeys accounting for disruption during the passage of Typhoon Lingling. While Lingling is not forecast to make landfall in Taiwan, its outer bands have triggered Extreme Heavy Rain Warnings for Kaohsiung and Tainan cities and Heavy Rain Warnings for Chiayi and Pingtung counties, as well as Chiayi City. Short-notice disruption to flights is possible, including at Taiwan Taoyuan International (TPE), Taipei Songshan (TSA), and Hualien (HUN) airports.
Through October, travelers should anticipate disruption and maintain flexible itineraries during the annual monsoon season. Heavy rainfall, flooding, and associated landslides have resulted in intermittent road closures and flight disruption throughout the country since May, while the situation in northern and northeastern provinces was exacerbated by flooding on September 1-3, following the passage of Tropical Storm Podul. Travelers are advised to reconfirm flight itineraries and verify the feasibility of journeys before setting out.
Travelers in Tbilisi should monitor developments and avoid protests linked to the resignation of Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze. Yesterday, the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (KO-DS) party nominated Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia, who has been widely criticized for his handling of protests in June, as interim Prime Minister until the October 2020 Parliamentary Elections. Parliament needs to pass the Vote of Confidence to confirm the appointment of Gakharia within two weeks. Further protests are likely, particularly outside Parliament.
On September 7, travelers in Thessaloniki should anticipate local disruption during a demonstration at 6:00 PM local time at Aristoteles Square. Activists, who are affiliated to the PAME labor union, have made various demands, including better working conditions. The opening of the 84th Thessaloniki International Fair, which will take place at the nearby Thessaloniki Exhibition Center, will also occur on September 7 and run through September 15.
Today, passengers of airlines affiliated with the SkyTeam alliance transiting Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) should anticipate disruption and reconfirm their flights due to a planned strike. Ground staff of national carrier KLM are due to observe a walkout between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM local time over a wage dispute. This follows an earlier walkout over the issue on September 2 which led to the cancellation of dozens of morning flights.
Tomorrow, travelers in Samara should avoid a planned protest in Rodina Park. Participants will gather at 6:00 PM local time to demand free and fair local elections on September 8 and draw attention to an array of socio-economic issues. Travelers should avoid the gathering due to the risks posed by indiscriminate arrests and related unrest.
Travelers in Russia should exercise caution and avoid all gatherings around the September 8 Local Elections. There remains heightened potential for unrest on Election Day, and all protest flashpoints, including government buildings, central squares and parks, should be avoided. While large election-related gatherings remain most likely in Moscow and St Petersburg, there remains potential for demonstrations in other regions.
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.
Travelers in London should anticipate disruption around planned protests by the Extinction Rebellion (XR) environmentalist activist group on September 7 and 8. Protests are expected to take place in North London, including Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey, and Islington boroughs. Previous protests by the group attracted large crowds, causing significant disruption to road travel and public transportation. Additionally, XR has also threatened to “shut down” London Fashion Week from September 13-17 through mass gatherings on the Strand.
Travelers in London and other urban centers should plan journeys bypassing further nationwide #StoptheCoup protests. The suspension of Parliament from September 9 through October 14 has triggered calls for protests by the “Another Europe is Possible” campaign group. Daily protests will take place at 5:30 PM local time across the country. Today, a rally will be held in London to defend free movement in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The demonstrations are likely to remain well attended but peaceful.