Thursday 09 April 2020

Blok to review travel advice to US in wake of Trump’s ban

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Dutch government is to review its travel advice to the US after president Donald Trump imposed a 30-day travel ban on all 26 countries in the Schengen zone, including the Netherlands.

The ban will take effect from 5am on Saturday and apply to all non-US citizens. Some tour operators, including TUI, cancelled trips immediately because of concerns that their customers would not be able to return home.

Foreign affairs minister Stef Blok, who is in Indonesia with the king and queen on a state visit, said the ban on travel from Europe was ‘potentially very disruptive’. ‘We have a lot of traffic in terms of people and trade,’ he said. ‘We are now assessing whether we need to adjust our travel advice to the United States’.

Minsters are holding crisis talks at 2pm on Thursday, which will be followed immediately by a press conference.

Schiphol airport said the measure would have an impact on its business and it was consulting airlines about the effect on transatlantic flights. KLM and Delta Airlines both have scheduled daily flights to 11 US destinations.

Queues for KLM

Long queues formed at KLM’s service desk on Thursday morning in the wake of the announcement as passengers tried to find out if they would still be able to travel to the US or return home once they were there.

One passenger who was booked on a flight on Thursday told NOS: ‘We’re lucky, we can still go. There’s not much you can do about it. Our daughter is having medical treatment, that still needs to go ahead, and we’ll see what happens afterwards.’

‘It’s unexpected,’ Schiphol CEO Dick Benschop told NH Nieuws. ‘Our first priority, together with the airlines, is to keep passengers informed so people who are travelling to the US or want to travel know where they stand. Then we need to work out exactly what the rules say, who is and isn’t allowed to go, and what that means for travel to the US.’

Piet Elbers, president of KLM, said the travel ban would be far more significant than the suspension of flights to China that the airline announced at the beginning of February.

‘The North Atlantic market is traditionally very important,’ he said. ‘At the moment there is a lot of uncertainty. We will have to establish exactly what it means for our flights.’

TUI sent a WhatsApp message to customers due to fly to Orlando on Thursday morning informing them that their bookings had been cancelled. The company is ending its twice-weekly flights to Miami after the winter season to create more capacity on its Curaçao route.

 

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