Gambia operator to recommence flights following unrest

 

The Gambia Experience has said it aims to recommence flights to the destination by the end of this week.

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The specialist operator, which is part of Serenity Holidays, said it had made the decision “in anticipation” of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) changing its travel advice to the country and after it appeared “that a peaceful political situation has been reached” in Gambia following political unrest in recent weeks.

In a travel advice statement posted on its website, the firm said it was liaising with the FCO to “ensure that the travel advice is appropriate to the situation on the ground.”

Former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh, who had refused to accept the West African country’s December election, left over the weekend after the threat of military intervention from neighbouring states.

As a result, The Gambia Experience said it intends to operate a flight to Gambia later this week.

“In anticipation of a change in advice we are intending to operate a flight to The Gambia next Friday (January 27),” the operator said in the statement on Saturday.

“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, January 20.”

The Gambia Experience is offering alternative holidays to Cape Verde and Goa to customers scheduled to travel to Gambia up to January 31.

Thousands of British holidaymakers were flown home from the country by The Gambia Experience and Thomas Cook last week.

In a statement on its website, Cook said it had operated 16 services over three days to repatriate 2,524 customers from the Gambian capital Banjul.

Cook’s flying programme to Gambia is cancelled until January 31 with the operator confirming that any resumption of its services would be 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.

“Should the situation change, we will contact directly those customers soon to travel,” the operator added.

Cook is offering free amendments or cancellations for holidays to the Gambia up to January 31, while free amendments for holidays to Gambia up to April 30 are also available.

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