Gambia specialist set to resume flights to country

Gambia specialist set to resume flights to country

Specialist operator The Gambia Experience is preparing to resume flying to the country this week following a peaceful handover of power in the West African country.

The company is liaising closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the hope that advice against all but essential travel will be lifted after former president Yahya Jammeh flew into exile on Saturday following threatened military intervention.

Thousands of British holidaymakers were repatriated from The Gambia by Thomas Cook and The Gambia Experience last week with the final customers landing back in the UK on Friday night.

Thomas Cook alone laid on 16 flights over three days to fly 2,524 holidaymakers home from the capital of Banjul.

The travel group’s flying programme to The Gambia is cancelled until January 31 with any resumption dependent on a change to FCO advice.

“This is based upon the risk of unrest in the country as a result of the disputed presidential inauguration on January 19,” Thomas Cook said.

However, The Gambia Experience is ready to run a flight to the country on Friday.

The company said on Saturday: “We have been closely monitoring events within The Gambia and it appears that a peaceful political situation has been reached.

“We would like to reassure our customers that we will continue to communicate with the FCO and the British Embassy to ensure that the travel advice is appropriate to the situation on the ground.

“In anticipation of a change in advice we are intending to operate a flight to The Gambia next Friday (January 27).

“If you wish to register interest or book, you can either call us on 01489 866939 or book online. In the event of FCO advice not changing you will be able to cancel or amend free of charge.”

The operator added: “We send our thoughts and best wishes to all our friends, colleagues and partners within The Gambia with assurances that we will work towards a swift resumption of our flights between the UK and Banjul, in this our 30th year of operation.

“We also wish to express our thanks to all our customers, both those who were in resort and those who were due to travel, for their patience and understanding whilst we managed the repatriation operation.

“Our experienced resort team, assisted by our UK managing director who was in The Gambia, arranged the final repatriation of our customers by Friday.”

Meanwhile, The Gambia Experience is offering alternative holidays to Cape Verde and Goa.

Thomas Cook is offering free amendments or cancellations for holidays to the Gambia up to January 31. Free amendments for holidays to The Gambia up to April 30 are also being provided.

“Should the situation change, we will contact directly those customers soon to travel,” Thomas Cook said.

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