Which Airlines Have Resumed Flights To South Africa?

A week ago, South Africa celebrated the arrival of its first international flight in six months. Which airlines are now flying back to the African nation? And which others have stalled due to recent developments?

South Africa is welcoming back its first international flights. Photo: Getty Images

Which airlines are returning to South Africa?

As part of measures to protect the nation, South Africa closed its borders to international flights for six months. While the government allowed in some international traffic for nationals, rules have been tight on allowing in regular scheduled international traffic. That was until a week ago.

The first flight to arrive was from Dubai on an Emirates flight. The ground crew celebrated the plane’s arrival with water cannons and a dancing drum band as the first arrivals entered the country. An Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa followed soon after.

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Since then, a multitude of other airlines has arrived, such as Lufthansa, Kenya Airways, Proflight Zambia, and Air Zimbabwe.

Other airlines have already scheduled or are flying services to the country. They include:

  • British Airways to both Johannesburg and Cape Town.
  • Air France and KLM from October 1st.
  • Qatar Airways returned from October 6th.
  • Air Mauritius and Turkish Airlines are also set to resume flights.
Qatar Airways returns to Gatwick
Qatar has resumed operations in South Africa. Photo: Qatar Airways

“We are very happy with the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that scheduled flights can resume shortly. Now that the borders are open again, we are very excited to resume commercial operations to and from Johannesburg and Cape Town,” said Air France-KLM to the South African.

Passengers arriving on these flights need to have a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) certificate not older than 72 hours to move freely in South Africa upon arrival, according to the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). This includes flight crew.

Emirates has restored the Durban flight

At the start of the week, the South African government said that everyone entering the country, including flight crews, requires a special test. This confusion caused Emirates to cancel a flight at the gate on October 4th for Durban, South Africa. The airline did not want its cabin crews undergoing quarantine on arrival (thus being trapped in the country).

The Department of Transport (DoT) moved to clarify confusion over the health requirement for flight crews in a statement reported by CH-Aviation. 

“Aircrew who are not in possession of a negative PCR certificate will still be permitted entry into South Africa, but will not be permitted to move around freely. Such crew members are expected to self-quarantine at their hotel”.

Emirates, Boeing 777, Route Recovery
Emirates suspended flights for a few days. Photo: Getty Images

This move was satisfactory, and Emirates has resumed the flight to Durban from today. None of the other Emirates flights were affected.

These new flights bring a reset for South Africa, whose economy heavily relies on the tourism sector for international travelers. Without international flights coming to the country, many locals have had a hard time, but with these airlines returning, a glimmer of hope remains.

“I wish to reiterate my commitment to continue to work with all the airliners to position this province as a destination for tourists and for those who want to do business.”Statement by the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube. 

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