Business Travel Advisory October 17th, 2019
Due to inclement weather and wind, there is a traffic management program in effect for traffic arriving La Guardia Airport (LGA). This is causing some arriving flights to be delayed an average of 1 hour and 47 minutes.
Travelers in Dallas, Texas should anticipate local disruption today during rival political gatherings. A rally hosted by President Donald Trump is scheduled for 7:00 PM local time at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas. A counter-rally by Presidential Candidate Beto O’Rourke will take place at 6:00 PM at the nearby Theatre at Grand Prairie. A heightened security presence, large crowds, and associated disruption can be expected around both events. A similar October 10 rally by Trump at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota resulted in clashes between participants and counter-protesters. Police used pepper spray to disperse crowds.
Beginning October 29, travelers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) using rideshare services, including Uber or Lyft, will be picked up at a designated parking lot near Terminal 1. Shuttle service from the main terminal will be provided. Travelers are advised that shuttles will run every 3-5 minutes. Alternately, passengers can walk from the main terminal to the designated ride-share pick up area, which would take approximately 18 minutes.
Locally-acquired cases of dengue fever have been detected in Florida. The disease is spread by mosquitoes and is present in both rural and urban areas. Dengue can cause a range of symptoms and has no particular treatment. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. Although a vaccine is available in several locations, it is only recommended for people who have been infected with dengue in the past and are living or traveling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Travelers are advised to prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
An outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) has been declared in southern Alberta. Pertussis is highly contagious and spreads when infected people cough or sneeze droplets into the air. Infants are affected most frequently. Early cold-like symptoms are followed by episodes of rapid and violent coughing. Supportive treatment and antibiotics help to treat the illness. Vaccination is the best way to prevent pertussis.
Today, travelers in urban centers, including Bogota, should anticipate disruption during scheduled demonstrations and plan journeys accordingly. Various labor unions, as well as teachers and students, are protesting over various issues, including labor and pension reforms. A related national strike is set to be observed on November 21. There is a risk of local confrontations between demonstrators and security forces. As such, travelers should plan routes bypassing all such gatherings as a precaution.
Today, travelers undertaking essential road travel should anticipate disruption and reconfirm the status of routes before setting out. The Codeca farmers’ organization plans to block roads across the country in connection with several grievances, among them the ongoing State of Emergency in six departments. Roadblocks are due to be erected in 18 of the country’s 22 departments, including in Guatemala City. Clashes between protesters and police may occur if officers attempt to forcibly dismantle roadblocks, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Through tomorrow, travelers should continue to defer all travel to Haiti, while those in-country should stand fast in a secure location, due to expected nationwide anti-government protests. Opposition groups have been staging near-daily demonstrations in recent weeks calling for the removal of President Jovenel Moise. Moise has refused to resign and instead is calling for a dialogue. Related protests are liable to result in violence and significant travel disruption. Essential services may be limited during periods of heightened unrest.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
On October 9, Turkey launched an operation in northeastern Syria against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). On October 13, the Turkish military and aligned Syrian opposition forces took control of Tel Abyad and villages in Hasakah governorate in Syria. In retaliation, the SDF launched rocket and mortar attacks into Turkey, affecting border areas of Mardin, Sanliurfa, and Sirnak provinces. Travelers are advised against all travel to Syria and areas of Turkey within five miles of the border in Mardin and Sanliurfa. Travelers in those areas should monitor developments and ensure their evacuation plans are rapidly implementable.
Today, travelers in Conakry and other urban centers should exercise caution during a nationwide “dead-city” protest. The action follows three days of anti-government demonstrations organized by the Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) opposition group against a proposed third term for President Alpha Conde. Security forces are liable to use tear gas and live ammunition to disperse rallies. At least nine people, including a security personnel, were killed in clashes during the October 14-16 FNDC protests.
Until October 20, travelers in Kenya, especially central, northeast, south-east and coastal regions, anticipate heavy rain, flooding, and resultant travel disruption. The Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) has issued a warning of heavy rain and strong winds during this period. According to local reports, four people were killed and five injured by flash flooding in Kitui county yesterday. Road travel has been paralyzed in several counties, while some main thoroughfares in Mombasa have been inundated. Travelers should reconfirm the status of routes before setting out.
In the coming weeks, travelers in Bamako and other main cities should avoid further protests against foreign military presence due to the risk of unrest. On October 12, thousands of people gathered in Bamako, Sevare, and Kayes to protest against the influence of the UN MINUSMA peacekeeping mission and French military in the country. Looting during these demonstrations prompted the Governor of Mopti to impose a curfew from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM local time until October 20 in the region.
An ongoing State of Emergency in Diffa, Tahoua, and Tillaberi regions was extended again for a further three months due to the persistent risks posed by militancy. The latest significant incident occurred on October 12, when at least five members of the gendarmerie were killed in an attack by an unidentified armed group near Abala village. Travelers are reminded to avoid all non-essential travel to the regions and comply with all restrictions under the State of Emergency. In Diffa, no vehicular movement is allowed from 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM local time, while a total curfew is in place between 10:00 PM and 4:00 AM.
Normal movement can resume in the vicinity of Ochanja market and the Upper Iweka area of Onitsha, after a fire, caused by the explosion of a petrol tanker on October 16, was successfully extinguished. Travelers are still advised to avoid the area in the coming days as discontent remains among local residents who waited for hours before emergency services arrived for assistance. The tanker explosion occurred at approximately 4:15 local time. Unconfirmed reports note that locals had resorted to putting out the fire by themselves before help arrived, and that locals are planning to conduct protests in the coming days against the local government.
On October 19-20, travelers in Abuja and northwestern states, particularly Kaduna, Kano and Katsina, should expect heightened security and avoid all gatherings linked to the annual Shia Muslim festival of Arbaeen. There is an increased risk of unrest during Arbaeen celebrations, which have previously been organized by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), an outlawed Shia group. Violence involving IMN members and security forces has occurred in recent years. The biggest Arbaeen procession, between Kano City and Zaria, is due to begin on October 19.
Cases of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) have been reported in River Nile and Red Sea states. The disease can be transmitted to humans via contact with the blood, organs or bodily fluids of infected animals. Infection can also occur through the bite of an infected mosquito or other insects. Symptoms of RVF may include a mild flu-like illness; however, in some cases the illness can be deadly. Travelers are advised to avoid contact with potentially infected animals and their fluids or organs, prevent mosquito and other insect bites, and avoid unpasteurized dairy products.
Today, travelers in Kassala should plan routes bypassing a protest from 1:00 PM local time. Supporters of the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) are expected to gather near Kassala Central Mosque and march towards the Local Ministry of Health. The SPA is demanding the resignation of the local health minister over a disease epidemic.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
In the coming weeks, travelers in countries with large Shia Muslim communities should anticipate heightened security and related travel disruption ahead of and during the Arbaeen religious festival on October 19-20. Arbaeen marks the end of the 40-day mourning period following Ashura, which commemorates the death of Imam Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. While the nature of commemoration differs between countries, non-worshiping members are advised to avoid all related events and Shia religious sites to minimize inconvenience and, in some contexts, due to the heightened risk of militancy.
Today, travelers in Hong Kong should monitor for and avoid all protests, which may be held to coincide with the next Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting. While no specific rallies have been announced, tensions remain high and could prompt short-notice gatherings with the potential for clashes. Main flashpoint locations include the LegCo Complex and associated government buildings, as well as the police headquarters in Wan Chai. Gatherings may also take place at other rallying points such as Chater Garden, Tamar Park, and Edinburgh Place. A heightened security presence should be expected around these locations, particularly the LegCo Complex.
Due to inclement weather and strong winds, authorities closed two of three runways at Sydney Airport (SYD) today. At least 20 Jetstar, Virgin and Qantas flights have been canceled as a result. Travelers are advised to reconfirm flights today if transiting Sydney or Melbourne (MEL) airports.
Today, travelers in Dhaka should anticipate and avoid possible protests during a strike by auto-rickshaw-pullers as a precaution. The action has been called to demand new regulations in the rickshaw industry, such as the banning of illegal auto-rickshaws across the country. Related demonstrations are expected, particularly outside the National Press Club. The rickshaw-pullers have threatened further actions if the authorities do not accede to their demands by tomorrow. Previous protests organized by rickshaw-pullers passed off peacefully but caused significant travel disruption.
On October 16, police said that three suspects had been arrested in connection with a sexual assault of a French National in Kampot. The victim was forced into a car at around 3:00 AM local time on October 11 as she was walking to her hotel. She was subsequently sexually assaulted. Cambodia is generally a safe destination for female travelers; however, the incident underscores the need to practice basic and sensible precautions at all times.
An epidemic of dengue is being reported across a number of islands including Bora Bora, Moorea, Raiatea, and Tahiti. The disease is spread by mosquitoes and is present in both rural and urban areas. Dengue can cause a range of symptoms and has no particular treatment. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. Although a vaccine is available in several locations, it is only recommended for people who have been infected with dengue in the past and are living or traveling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Travelers are advised to prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
Travelers in Haryana and Maharashtra states should plan journeys accounting for disruption associated with the Legislative Assembly elections. Polling will take place on October 21, while counting and the release of results is expected on October 24. Prior to these dates, travel disruption is likely around major campaign rallies. An increased security force presence can be expected around such gatherings, as well as at polling booths and political party offices. Travelers should avoid such events and venues due to the potential for local unrest.
Since early October, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the National Capital Region (NCR) has intermittently recorded “Poor” to “Severe” levels in certain areas. 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 are particularly vulnerable. To minimize the risk of potential health problems, travelers are advised to reduce exposure by decreasing time and physical activity outdoors.
Authorities have arrested at least 26 militants and foiled several terror plots, including suicide bombings, linked to the militant group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), an affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) group. The arrests follow a knife attack on Chief Security Minister Wiranto by two members of JAD on October 10. The arrests and foiled plots underscore the persistent risks posed by militancy in Indonesia. Travelers should be vigilant and minimize time spent around principal targets of militant attacks, such as government and security personnel and infrastructure.
Smoke from land and forest fires has affected air quality in several parts of 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 and 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.
Travelers in urban centers should avoid all gatherings over penal code amendments and other proposed legislation due to the risk of local disruption and unrest. Authorities in Jakarta have refused to issue permits for public gatherings due to the October 20 Presidential Inauguration, which will take place at the Parliament building; however, a demonstration is nonetheless planned in central Jakarta today. Participants will gather at the National Monument from 1:00 PM local time and proceed to Merdeka Palace; a related rally in Bandung will begin at 1:00 PM local time at Gedung Sate.
Travelers should anticipate and avoid further protests against a Turkish-led military incursion into northeastern Syria. Related, well-attended gatherings have occurred in recent days in Baneh, Marivan, Sanandaj, and Piranshahr. On October 12, a demonstration was held outside the Turkish Embassy in Tehran. Such protests are most likely to occur in Kordestan, Kermanshah, Ilam and West Azerbaijan provinces, which have significant ethnic-Kurdish population. There is a potential for unrest during such gatherings, which may also cause local travel disruption, particularly if they are held along main thoroughfares.
Travelers in or traveling to Japan should continue to anticipate residual disruption in areas impacted by former typhoon Hagibis in the coming days. While the storm has exited the country, disruption and flooding continue to be reported in several prefectures. Rail services have largely resumed across the country, including in Tokyo. Tokyo’s Narita (NRT) and Haneda (HND) international airports have also resumed operations, though flight delays and cancellations are still possible in the coming days given flight backlogs. Travelers should continue to maintain flexible itineraries and reconfirm logistical arrangements.
Through today, travelers in Jordan should plan journeys accounting for potential travel disruption due to forecast heavy rainfall. Associated floods are possible near mountain slopes and low-lying areas. Streets may become inundated during heavy rain, and visibility may be hindered resulting in a higher potential for road traffic accidents. The Jordan Meteorological Department has advised motorists to exercise caution and minimize movement during heavy rainfall.
A police officer was killed on October 15 in a bomb explosion targeting a police vehicle on Double Road in Quetta. At least ten were injured, and among them were five police officers. The explosion comes on the heels of another targeted blast on September 25 on Eastern Bypass road in Quetta, which had left two police officers and a bystander injured. Both incidents highlight the extreme travel risk in most of the province, including Quetta. Travel to Balochistan should be for businesscritical purposes only, and time spent outside secure premises should be minimized.
Two cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) have been confirmed in Lanao del Sur, Mindanao. A third case has been confirmed in Laguna. These are the first cases reported in the country after 19 years. Poliovirus has also been detected in environmental samples in Manila and Davao. Polio is a contagious viral illness that can cause paralysis and death. It is spread through contaminated food or water, or directly from an infected person. Travelers are advised to prevent infection by ensuring polio vaccination is up to date, including a booster if available, and selecting safe food and water.
At least five people were killed, and 27 others injured following a magnitude-6.4 earthquake that struck at 6:37 PM yesterday in Sultan Kudarat province. This was followed by at least 90 aftershocks of varying intensity, including magnitudes 5.3 and 4.9. Moderate damage to some buildings, landslides, and power outages have been reported. The worst-affected areas include Kidapawan City, Tulunan, Digos City, and Magsaysay. Travelers in affected areas should continue to exercise caution and follow all official directives.
Increased dengue activity has been observed since mid-June. The disease is spread by mosquitoes and is present in both rural and urban areas. Dengue can cause a range of symptoms and has no particular treatment. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. Although a vaccine is available in several locations, it is only recommended for people who have been infected with dengue in the past and are living or traveling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Travelers are advised to prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
The tap water across several areas in Hanoi has been contaminated. Oil waste dumped into the Da River is reported to have caused the contamination. Travelers are advised to select safe water to prevent illness.
In the coming days, travelers in major urban centers across Europe should plan journeys bypassing further environmental protests to minimize inconvenience. The Extinction Rebellion (XR) environmentalist group has called for a “shut down” of major cities for at least two weeks until governments respond to the climate and ecological emergency. Related gatherings in major cities are likely to be well-attended, disrupting traffic in key locations, often around government buildings and on major routes.
Travelers in the United Kingdom and European Union should continue to monitor developments and follow all government guidelines related to the process of the UK leaving the EU, known as “Brexit.” Brexit is currently due to occur on October 31. Presently, the UK must agree to a deal with the EU by October 19 or request an extension. Local gatherings relating to Brexit remain possible, with most such events likely to be focused on Parliament Square in London.
Passengers of Norwegian Air transiting Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) should anticipate disruption and reconfirm flights due to a planned strike by the airline’s cabin crew. The walkout, which is supposed to last through January 5, 2020, has been called by the UNAC and SNPNC-FO unions in connection with a dispute over wages and working conditions. A related strike at the airport in late April resulted in the cancellation of dozens of Norwegian Air flights.
Travelers due to fly with flag carrier Lufthansa via Frankfurt (FRA) or Munich (MUC) airports on October 20 should reconfirm flight schedules. The UFO cabin crew union plans to strike from 6:00 AM until 11:00 AM local time over salary-related grievances. The union has said that it may call for further work stoppages. Lufthansa has said that it intends to maintain a normal flight schedule; however, disruption remains possible. Negotiations are ongoing to avert the industrial action.
Late yesterday, authorities reopened Hamburg Airport (HAM) after its closure earlier in the day. The facility had been closed following the discovery of a Second World War bomb in nearby Schnelsen area. The bomb has since been defused. Travelers due to fly via the airport early today should reconfirm flight schedules.
On October 19, travelers in Rome should anticipate local disruption during an opposition protest organized by the rightwing Northern League (LN) party. LN leader Matteo Salvini has called on supporters to gather at Piazza San Giovanni from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM local time. The party expects a turnout of around 40,000 people for the event, which is liable to disrupt road travel in its vicinity. Buses serving the area will be diverted and Line A metro trains will not stop at San Giovanni station beginning at 4:00 PM local time.
Today, travelers in The Hague should plan journeys bypassing a farmers’ protest and convoys due to likely significantly disruption. Participating farmers are demonstrating against environmental regulations. Yesterday, a protest passed off without incident; participants are expected to continue to protest in the city center and the Binnenhof area, home to government buildings. Travelers in the Netherlands should expect further traffic disruption until this evening, when farmers will return to their regions.
On October 19, travelers in Samara should plan routes bypassing a planned opposition protest in Kozlova Square from 12:00 PM local time. The opposition Communist Party is demanding the resignation of a regional minister and the reduction of refuse disposal tariffs. It is unclear whether the gathering will receive official authorization, though the organizers have pledged to proceed regardless. Security forces are liable to conduct mass arrests of participants in unauthorized rallies, while bystanders may also be detained.
Travelers in Catalonia autonomous community should expect further protests and strikes until at least tomorrow over the recent sentencing of pro-independence leaders to prison. Marches began yesterday in the cities of Berga, Girona, Tarragona, Tarrega and Vic, with demonstrators expected to converge in Barcelona tomorrow. A general strike will also take place across Catalonia tomorrow. Travelers should avoid all related gatherings due to the risk of local disruption and unrest.
Today, due to a customer incident the DLR is temporarily suspended between Bank/Tower Gateway and Poplar, and the Jubilee Line is suspended Westbound.