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Airlines scramble to rebook flights in wake of Trump’s travel ban

Airlines scramble to rebook flights in wake of Trump’s travel ban

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

CAIRO — Airlines around the world are turning away passengers, refunding tickets and rebooking flights in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s immigration order.

The order signed Friday included a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen. It also suspended the U.S. refugee program for four months.

That forced airlines to tell some customers they couldn’t proceed on flights to the U.S.

Emirates said a small number of its passengers were affected Saturday, and it was helping them rebook. Delta Air Lines and British Airways both said they were offering refunds for passengers who couldn’t complete their trips.

Several airlines, including Qatar Airways, posted travel alerts on their websites warning customers about the changes.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reiterated that Iran will no longer issue visas for Americans, describing the decision as a “counter-action” to Trump’s executive order. About five million tourists visit Iran each year, most of them coming from Iraq and other neighbouring countries. Europeans have also been coming to Iran, but Americans represent far less than 1% of the total – or about 50,000 – and are subjected to rigorous background checks. Iran’s ban will not be retroactive; all Americans with already valid Iranian visas “will be gladly welcomed” said Zarif.

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World leaders are denouncing Trump’s move and seeking more clarity on how citizens will be affected.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said that “the fight against terrorism does not justify such general action against particular countries and people of a particular faith.” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven called the move “counterproductive” and “totally unacceptable.”

The two leaders were speaking at a press conference in Stockholm Tuesday.

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