Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has opened domestic air travel to all provinces. Mbalula says international air travel remains prohibited, except for repatriation flights approved by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Speaking in a virtual media briefing, the Transport Minister did not say when international flights will operate again. Mbalula says airlines can again provide meals for passengers, as long as it is pre-packed. He says all flights are only allowed for business purposes and people must be at the airports at least two hours prior to the flight.

“The following domestic airports will reopen from the 1st of July 2020: Braam Fisher International Airport. Free State, Bloemfontein, Mangaung, Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, Pietermaritzburg Airport, PE International Airport, Richards Bay Airport, Skukuza Airport and Upington International Airport.” 

The George Airport remains closed for now as it has not met the required standards.

Mbalula says aircraft are again allowed to take off in pursuit of agricultural and recreational purposes.

“Agricultural spraying, seeding, and dusting, cloud spraying, seeding and dusting, culling and construction. Aerial harvesting, aerial patrol, observation, and survey. Aerial advertisement, search and rescue, and parachuting. Recreational aviation is permitted for proficiency flights provided the flights are authorised by SACAA and remains within the general flying area or airfield boundaries,” detailed Mbalula. 

Air photography is also set to resume. Mbalula says since some airports were partially opened two weeks ago, it has shown that the precautions put in place are adequate to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

Below is Mbalula’s full address: 

 Taxi industry 

Meanwhile, the Minister also touched on tensions between government and the taxi industry, saying grievances should not result in lawlessness behaviour by members of the industry.

His remark comes as some taxi operators heeded South African National Taxi Council’s (Santaco) call on Monday and returned to operate their taxis on full capacity, which is a violation of the country’s COVID-19 regulations. According to the laws, taxis are only allowed to operate at 70% passenger capacity.

Santaco and the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) have threatened a strike if any taxis are pulled over for inter-provincial travel without a permit, or for loading passengers to capacity. 

In the video below, Santaco urges drivers to load to full capacity: