Mon, Nov 16, 2015 - Page 6 News List

PARIS ATTACKS: Paris air travel proceeds, but some cancel visits


Even as airlines on Saturday operated a normal schedule of flights into and out of Paris, travelers with future plans to visit the French capital reconsidered their options after a series of terror attacks. Some quickly canceled their tickets, a worrisome sign for the travel and tourism industries.

Joe Nardozzi, a 31-year-old New York investment banker, and his wife will not be taking the wedding-anniversary trip they planned later this month.

“I have no interest in losing my life over a trip to Paris,” Nardozzi said.

Travel agents said some clients called to cancel trips and one advocacy group for business travelers predicted that corporations would let frightened employees do the same.

On Friday night, terrorists with guns and suicide vests carried out coordinated attacks across Paris that left at least 129 people dead and more than 350 injured. The targets, including a cafe and a concert hall, were the types of places that travelers on a vacation or business trip might visit. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Decisions by companies and leisure travelers could hinge on whether the Paris attacks are seen as a one-time event or the vanguard of a stepped-up campaign by Muslim radicals.

The Islamic State, which is fighting in Syria and Iraq, last month also claimed that it bombed a Russian passenger jet over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, although investigators have not determined the cause of the crash that killed 224 people.

High tensions after the attacks could be seen at airports across Europe on Saturday.

A Paris-bound Air France jet was evacuated at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol after authorities received a threatening tweet. A terminal at London’s Gatwick Airport was shut down for hours after a man was seen throwing away what looked like a gun.

Air France said it would operate all upcoming flights to and from France, but that delays were expected because of increased security at airports, including Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport.

US authorities said that they had nothing to add to Friday’s comment by US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson that officials did not know of any specific or credible terror threats against the US.

United Airlines and Delta Air Lines said that all their flights between the US and Paris operated on Saturday.

American Airlines said all its flights would run as well, except a Paris to Dallas flight — that airplane remained in Dallas when the Paris-bound leg was canceled on Friday night.

Delta spokesman Anthony Black said flights to and from Paris were full.

Still, some US travelers canceled upcoming trips after seeing coverage of the terror on Paris streets.

New York-based Cook Travel president Blake Fleetwood said about 10 customers out of the roughly 30 with trips booked to Paris told him they want to cancel.

He and his wife said that they might do the same next month.

“It’s a terrible situation,” Fleetwood said.

“It’s going to hurt the travel industry, the hotels, the airlines, the restaurants,” he said.

Kevin Mitchell, who runs an advocacy group called the Business Travel Coalition, expects some worried corporate travelers to cancel trips to Europe.

“These companies have to continue to do business, but for some period of time they’ll give employees a lot of leeway about traveling to Europe and Paris in particular,” Mitchell said.

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