South African Airways (SAA) has suspended all its domestic flights with effect from Friday until April 16, the period during which South Africa is on lockdown in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The lockdown takes effect from midnight Thursday. The cash strapped airline, which is under business rescue, says it supports the national effort to combat the spread of the virus.
SAA says it will provide support to passengers who intend to change their travel plans and commence their journeys before the implementation of the national lockdown.
SAA supports the national effort as announced by the government, to retard, contain, manage and disrupt the rate of transmission of the (COVID-19) https://t.co/GHYqOQW79g #FlySAA pic.twitter.com/LL7XPM5g8T
— SAA – South Africa (@flysaa) March 24, 2020
Last week Minister Fikile Mbalula announced that all passengers travelling from countries that are considered high-risk for the spread of the coronavirus will be barred from entering South Africa.
Fourteen international flights were grounded last week at the OR Tambo International Airport in line with government’s ban on foreign nationals from high-risk countries.
Only permanent South African residents and citizens were allowed to disembark but were subjected to high-intensity screening and isolated or quarantined if needed.
Other passengers on the planes were sent back to their countries of origin. Mbalula said the extraordinary measures against travellers from countries such as China and the US are aimed at protecting South Africans.
“For some, it means that these countries in terms of their airlines will actually not come and yet in terms of the regulations what we are talking about is travel restrictions on people who come from those countries, they will not be allowed, people coming from China, South Korea and so on will not be allowed to disembark in the republic.” The infographic gives more information about the countries affected by the travel ban: