Air France-KLM has warned that terrorist attacks in Europe have reduced the attractiveness of France as a travel destination – and other European countries share similar concerns.
The advice by Air France-KLM came in the same week that Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) warned travellers of the likelihood of further attacks in Germany and issued advisories concerning an unspecified threat at Switzerland’s Geneva Airport and heightened security measures at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
Air France-KLM told French news agency AFP that while it had cut its net loss significantly in the first half of this year, uncertainties remained, including “a special concern about France as a destination”.
The group posted a net first half loss to EUR 114 million, a big improvement compared to the EUR 638 million loss in the same period in 2015.
Unit revenue fell 5.6% in the second quarter, which chief financial officer Pierre-Francois Riolacci said was partly due to the world’s sluggish economic recovery but “most of all the effect of the terror attacks that have struck Europe in recent quarters and which resumed with the Brussels attacks at the end of March”.
Jihadists are attacking soft targets in Europe, especially those connected with travel and tourism. This year has seen Islamist attacks on Brussels airport and metro in Belgium, following the November Paris massacres in which 130 people died and the 14 July truck attack in Nice which killed 84 people. Last week, two jihadists entered a local church in Normandy, northern France, murdered the 85-year-old priest and attacked parishioners.
The number of tourists arriving in France on scheduled flights has fallen by 5.8% since January (including by 11% in Paris) according to French tourism officials.
In other parts of Europe, Germany suffered four attacks last week – an axe assault, a shooting mass murder, a machete slaying and a suicide bombing. Three of the attacks were conducted by asylum seekers who had recently entered Germany. The fourth attacker was a German-Iranian youth.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) warned last week that: “A terrorist attack occurred near a music festival in Ansbach in Bavaria on 24 July. This is the second terrorist attack in Germany in two weeks. We assess that further attacks are likely. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times.”
It also warned that “on 27 July 2016, following an unspecified threat, Geneva airport has tightened its security checks and police presence at the airport. Allow extra time to get to the airport and check in. If you are in the area please follow instructions from the Swiss authorities.”
On Sunday, DFAT advised that: “Dutch authorities have introduced additional security measures at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The airport remains open with flight operations continuing as normal. You should remain aware of your surroundings and follow the instructions of local authorities.”
London also is on alert. After last week’s church attack in France, churches in Britain have been told to tighten security.
“Following recent events in France, we are reiterating our protective security advice to Christian places of worship and have circulated specific advice today,” Neil Basu, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, advised.
“We are also taking this opportunity to remind them to review their security arrangements as a precaution.”
British authorities rate the threat from terrorism in the UK as “severe” and assess the likelihood of a terrorist attack there as “highly likely”.
Written by Peter Needham