Due to weather, there is a Traffic Management Program in effect for traffic arriving San Francisco International Airport (SFO). This is causing some arriving flights to be delayed an average of 48 minutes. Severe thunderstorms are possible today and tomorrow in parts of the South, including the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley. Thunderstorms may include large hail, damaging winds, and possible tornadoes.
Travelers in the southwestern departments of Antioquia, Arauca, Boyaca, Cauca, Huila, Narino, Santander, Tolima, and Valle de Cauca should continue to anticipate travel disruption due to ongoing protests and roadblocks by indigenous groups. Roadblocks have halted transport on the Pan-American Highway (Highway 25) between Cali and Popayan, Highway 24 to La Plata, and Highway 20 to Pitalito; the road blockages have led to shortages of fuel and other goods. Further demonstrations are likely in the coming days; yesterday, around 40 more indigenous groups announced they were joining the protests.
All travel to Venezuela should be deferred, while travelers in country should minimize non-essential movement amid an ongoing political crisis. Sporadic power outages and shortages of food, water, and fuel have exacerbated the situation, causing increased unrest in Caracas and other urban centers. Juan Guaido, the National Assemblyrecognized interim President, has called for nationwide demonstrations on Saturday, April 6 to demand the removal of President Nicolas Maduro. Travelers should continue to avoid all political gatherings due to a credible risk of unrest.
Travelers in Algeria should continue to closely monitor developments and avoid all gatherings despite President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation yesterday. The President of the Council of the Nation, Abdelkader Bensalah, will temporarily assume presidential duties as stipulated by Article 102 until elections are held within the next 90 days. Further opposition protests are likely, with nationwide rallies due to take place on Friday, April 5. Travelers should remain prepared to stand fast for at least 72 hours in urban centers, and up to two weeks in rural areas, if necessary, while the political uncertainty persists.
Yesterday, at approximately 9:35 PM local time, Saudi Arabian Air intercepted two drones launched by the Yemen-based Zaydi Houthi group near Khamis Mushait. Authorities confirmed that debris from the interception had injured five people, while several homes and cars were damaged. Although attempted Houthi attacks in Saudi Arabia have declined in recent months, the incident highlights the group’s continued intent to target the kingdom, as well as the ability of the Saudi authorities to counter most such incidents.
Tomorrow, travelers in Dakar and other urban centers should expect heightened security and associated disruption during Independence Day celebrations. A military parade will be held on Boulevard du General de Gaulle in Dakar. Large crowds can be expected around all related events, which should be avoided as a precaution and to minimize travel delays.
In the coming hours, travelers in Johannesburg should continue to anticipate disruption and avoid the vicinity of the Marlboro Gautrain station and East Bank Avenue due to ongoing protests by residents of Alexandra township. London Road has reportedly been cleared, but protests continue on Addo Road. Protesters are also reportedly setting up barricades on the M1 and N3 highways, causing serious delays. Demonstrators have used burning tires to block the roads while security forces have fired live ammunition in the air. Residents are protesting alleged poor service delivery and are calling on Mayor Herman Mashaba to intervene or resign.
On April 5-6, travelers flying via Istanbul should anticipate disruption and reconfirm their itineraries during the transfer of all commercial flights to the newly-built Istanbul Airport (ISL). All flights at this facility and Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST) will be grounded from 2:00 AM to 2:00 PM local time on Saturday, April 6 during the transfer, while the new airport’s International Air Transport Association (IATA) code will change to IST at 3:00 AM local time on the same day. The main route between the two airports will temporarily close to support the transfer, which will likely exacerbate traffic congestion in the city.
Travelers in Kampala should plan routes avoiding the Qualicel Bus Terminal due to an ongoing gathering over a reported rent dispute. Security forces are at the site. Related protests in March were forcibly dispersed by the police with tear gas.
There have been no reports thus far of any damage or casualties following a magnitude 5.4 earthquake at 09:52 AM local time today in Taitung county. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake occurred 21 miles northwest of Taitung City. The temblor, which occurred at a depth of six miles, was felt in several areas, including Taipei City and Kaohsiung. Travelers should follow official directives in the event of aftershocks.
Earlier this week, cross-border shelling in Rajouri and Poonch districts along the Line of Control (LoC) killed at least three Indian civilians and injured 24 others. This follows cross-border firing near the LoC overnight on March 1-2 which killed at least three Indian civilians in Poonch and Baramulla. Bilateral tensions continue, despite easing since Pakistan’s return of a captured Indian Air Force pilot on March 1. Travelers should monitor all developments closely.
Fighting between troops and ethnic-Rakhine Arakan Army (AA) insurgents in northern Rakhine state has intensified in recent weeks. A string of violent attacks by the AA has led authorities to impose a two-month curfew in Ponnaygun, Rathedaung, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U, and Minbya townships. The curfew began on April 2 and is in effect daily between the hours of 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM local time. Additionally, reports suggest that authorities have stopped tourists from entering Mrauk-U. The developments highlight the risk of spillover violence into areas not traditionally affected by fighting.
Tomorrow, travelers in France should anticipate disruption during a nationwide strike by education unions and associated marches over a new education reform bill. In Paris, participants will gather at 2:00 PM local time at Place de l’Opera before marching towards Place de la Republique. The rally is expected to be well attended. On March 30, 36,000 joined similar protests, including 6,500 in Paris.
On Friday, April 5, travelers in Berlin should plan routes bypassing a rally by striking bank workers to minimize inconvenience. Participants are due to gather at Breitscheidplatz at 10:00 AM local time before marching to Ernst-Reuter-Platz and back. On April 6, travelers in major urban centers should avoid demonstrations against housing shortages and high rents. In Berlin, participants will march at 12:00 PM local time from Alexanderplatz to Treptow Arena. More than 10,000 people participated in a related demonstration in April 2018 in Berlin. Gatherings are also planned in other major cities, including Dresden, Frankfurt, Hanover, and Munich.
Travelers in Rome, Naples, Turin, Florence, and Genoa should anticipate disruption and plan alternative travel arrangements due to an ongoing taxi strike. The work stoppage, which is being held to denounce perceived poor public transport regulation laws and app-based ride-share services, will go on until 10:00 PM local time today.
Travelers to the Kabardino-Balkaria republic in the North Caucasus region are reminded of the risks from terrorism following the arrest today of two suspected members of the extremist Islamic State (IS) group. The suspects were detained following an incident yesterday in Baksan district during which a police patrol was fired upon. Guns, ammunition, and bomb-making equipment were reportedly seized during the arrest operation. The arrests highlight the risk of terrorism in the North Caucasus republics as well as the capability of the security forces to identify and thwart terrorist plots.
Today, the Cabinet of Ministers voted in favor of draft legislation suspending all direct unscheduled flights between Ukraine and Russia. The proposed law, which should come into effect shortly, notably excludes humanitarian flights organized by NGOs and international institutions such as the UN, the Organization for Security, and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Over the coming days, travelers due to undertake such travel on chartered aircraft, including private flights, should reconfirm their itineraries and make alternative arrangements where necessary.
Today, travelers scheduled to travel with regional carrier Flybe should anticipate disruption and reconfirm schedules. The airline has cancelled more than 20 flights across the UK today, including services to/from Birmingham (BHX), Aberdeen International (ABZ), Belfast City (BHD) and Glasgow International (GLA) airports. The carrier has cited operational reasons for the disruption.