South African Airways (SAA) will immediately suspend all regional and international operations until the end of May in response to a government travel ban aimed at stopping the transmission of the Coronavirus (Covid-19)
The decision means SAA will only render services domestically between Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The suspension of flights follows the gazetting of Regulations and the issuing of a Notice to Air Men (NOTAM), an official government notice prohibiting the embarkation and disembarkation of crew and passengers from SAA’s three international destinations. The regulation is effective from Friday March 21.
The regulations, gazetted by Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, means no flights from high risk countries including United States, Germany, United Kingdom, will be allowed into South Africa.
SAA‘s high risk destinations are New York, Washington DC, Frankfurt and London.
Amongst others, the regulations, issued on Thursday, states that: “Disembarkation of foreign nationals from the high-risk countries is suspended on airports upon arrival. Embarkation and disembarkation is permissible under the following circumstances: Disembarkation of a returning South African citizens and permanent residents; embarkation of departing foreign nationals, disembarkation of a declared medical emergency foreign nationals must be approved by port health services; upon landing, crew from high risk countries shall be subject to medical screening and quarantined for 21 days”.
“In support of efforts by government to in dealing with this pandemic, and in the best interests of our crew, passengers and the public, we have decided to suspend all international and regional flights until 31 May 2020. It is a responsibility of all of us and not just government to curb further transmission of the virus. Especially because we operate in the high-risk regions” said SAA Acting CEO, Zuks Ramasia.
In addition to the actions mentioned above, SAA will also suspend flights to its regional destinations, Accra (Ghana), Lusaka (Zambia), Harare (Zimbabwe), Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), Mauritius, Windhoek (Namibia), Lagos (Nigeria), Entebbe (Uganda) and other countries which have not been declared high-risk such as Perth (Australia) and Sao Polo (Brazil). This is as a result of the significant reduction in demand for air travel as a result of various travel bans instituted worldwide.
“Notwithstanding the suspension of services in the international and regional markets, we are pleased to indicate that our domestic services are not impacted. This means, SAA will continue to operate between Johannesburg and Cape Town,” said Ramasia.
SAA regrets any inconvenience to our customers as a result of the COVID-19 and we encourage all customers to visit our website www.flysaa.com for further updates.
Customers are advised to contact either their travel agents or for direct bookings, South African Airways Call Centres on +27 (0) 11 978 – 1111 or 0861 606 606 or 0800 214 774
(South Africa only) or +27 (0) 11 978 – 2888. “We thank customers for the support by continuing to place their trust in South African Airways with their travel plans,” said Ramasia.
SAA will provide regular and timely updates through media statements and through our travel trade partners.