Emirates Extends South Africa Flight Suspension

UAE carrier Emirates has extended its flight suspension to South Africa. The airline had been intending to resume such services tomorrow (January 28th). However, for the time being, the flight suspension has been extended until February 4th.

Emirates, South Africa, Flight Suspension
Emirates has expanded its flight suspension to South Africa. Photo: Getty Images

Around the world, airlines are constantly changing their flying plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has seen routes reopening where travel restrictions have been lowered, and demand has returned. However, on the flip side, it has also seen routes being withdrawn. South Africa has especially seen this effect since it became known as an area where a new COVID-19 variant is prevalent.

Flight suspension extended

Emirates has extended its suspension of South African flights. The flights to Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg were first suspended from January 16th. The airline had planned to resume such services tomorrow. However, this will not be the case, as Emirates made clear on Monday.

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According to the airline, such flights now remain suspended until February 4th. This is in line with a government directive restricting travelers from South Africa from entering the United Arab Emirates. The order was issued concerning the virus variant prevalent in South Africa. Given that the suspension is related to the directive, it is possible that it could once again be extended beyond February 4th.

emirates and airlink sign agreement
The airline was initially set to resume flights to South Africa tomorrow. Photo: Getty Images

An Emirates spokesperson told Simple Flying,

“Emirates’ flights to South Africa will remain suspended until 04 February 2021, in line with recent government directives that restrict the entry of travellers originating from South Africa, into the UAE. The health and safety of our customers, colleagues, and the communities we serve, will always be our top priority… Emirates remains committed to serving our customers in South Africa, and we look forward to resuming passenger services when conditions allow…”

Not just the UAE

It’s not just the UAE that has banned South Africa flights concerning its new virus variant. Indeed, Germany was one of the first nations to ban travel from South Africa for most individuals. However, travel is now allowed with a COVID-19 test before departure.

Emirates, Boeing 777, Route Recovery
It remains possible that the flight suspension could be extended further. Photo: Getty Images

This isn’t the case with the UK, however. The UK has banned travel from South Africa, in addition to multiple nearby countries. Travelers who have been in South Africa in the past ten days won’t be allowed access to the United Kingdom unless they are British or Irish nationals or UK residents. Then they are subject to enhanced quarantine restrictions.

On Monday, new United States President, Joe Biden, indicated that South Africa would be added to the travel ban currently restricting travel from Europe, the United Kingdom, and Brazil in response to its increased COVID-19 incidence.

What do you make of Emirates’ extended flight suspension? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!