Operators prepare to resume Gambia flights as FCO downgrades travel advice

Operators prepare to resume Gambia flights as FCO downgrades travel advice

Operators are preparing to resume flights to The Gambia just a week after thousands of British holidaymakers were repatriated from the country amid concerns over political instability and possible military intervention.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office yesterday removed its advice against all but essential travel to the West African country.

Specialist operator The Gambia Experience confirmed plans to re-start twice weekly charter flights to the capital Banjul with Titan Airways from Gatwick on Friday.

The company said it was awaiting confirmation from Thomas Cook, the main operator to The Gambia, about the resumption of regional flights to the country from February 1.

Thomas Cook, which flew 2,524 holidaymakers back to the UK on 16 emergency flights over three days last week, has currently cancelled all flights to The Gambia until January 31.

Thomas Cook is reviewing the situation in light of the change in FCO travel advice.

The Gambia Experience managing director Chris Rowles said: “We hope to resume our flying programme swiftly, getting our operation up and running so there is minimal disruption to The Gambia tourist industry.

“Longer term, recent events and their peaceful conclusion could spell a very positive and bright future for this wonderful country.”

The FCO yesterday revised its travel advice to The Gambia, no longer advising against travel to the country as “the situation has stabilised and the possibility of military intervention is no longer likely”.

The original travel clampdown came after former president Yahya Jammeh refused to accept December 1 election results.

But he finally flew into exile at the weekend after 22 years in power following mediation by regional leaders and the threat of military intervention allowing new president Adama Barrow to take up his position.

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