South African Airways will provide repatriation charter flights to various international destinations, the airline released in a statement.
The move comes after many travellers had been stuck in South Africa due to the national lockdown from March 26 to April 16, 2020.
The first of these chartered flights will be for the repatriation of German citizens to their home country. The flight, from Johannesburg to Munich, and Cape Town to Frankfurt is expected to depart on Friday, April 3.
According to a statement by SAA, Business Rescue Practitioners (BRP) have confirmed that negotiations were ongoing with other governments for the repatriation of their citizens.
Following the engagements with various embassies and in consultation with the relevant government departments, SAA agreed to provide repatriation charter flights to various international destinations.
SAA said on its website: “Subsequent to the announcement and the start of the lockdown, representatives of several governments have engaged with the joint BRPs of SAA to consider having SAA provide the safe passage of their citizens to their respective home countries.
“These engagements have required the consideration, approval and support of the South African government to implement and taking into account the amended regulations issued by the Department of Transport this week.
“In these difficult times, SAA is committed to collaborating with all its partners and stakeholders in the fight against Covid-19. The airline will ensure the necessary transfer of passengers and essential cargo takes place in a safe and compliant manner for all during these flights.”
The airline revealed it will operate the charter services subject to the health and safety provisions contained in the regulations and other relevant provisions during the lockdown.
SAA also revealed:
- These flights are commercial to deal with the thousands of passengers who could not be accommodated as a consequence of the immediate lockdown.
- These flights are not for the transportation of individuals who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are not medical evacuation flights.
- Individuals who have tested positive for Covid-19 will not be allowed on any of these flights.
- All passengers would be subject to the screening protocols before departure as required by the South African authorities and SAA’s policies.
- Any passengers that present flu-like symptoms will not be allowed on any of these flights.