Good News For KLM: Netherlands Lifts Flight Ban From South Africa

The Netherlands has finally lifted its flight ban on South Africa after six months of travel restrictions. However, while Dutch nationals and tourists will be able to travel to the Netherlands, the majority of South Africans will still be unable to enter the country due to ongoing restrictions imposed by the European Union.

Good News For KLM: Netherlands Lifts Flight Ban From South Africa
The Netherlands has lifted its flight ban on South Africa effective immediately. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

South African flight ban lifted

The Netherlands will allow passenger flights from South Africa again with immediate effect, which spells good news for national airline KLM. In addition to lifting the ban on South Africa, the Netherlands will also permit flights from India and other countries in Central and South America that were previously on the flight ban list.

According to the Government of the Netherlands’ official website,

“As of 1 June 2021, there is no longer a ban on passenger flights from India, South Africa and countries in Central and South America.”

KLM A330
South African nationals are still barred from entry due to EU restrictions. Photo: KLM

Along with Dutch nationals and residents, nationals and residents from the European Union and Schengen Area will also be permitted entry. However, nationals from other countries will only be allowed in if they fall into one of the exemption categories. South African nationals won’t be allowed to enter the Netherlands due to a ban imposed by the European Union.

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KLM set to increase frequency of flights

The lifting of the ban will enable KLM to ramp up flights to and from South Africa. The airline’s South African network has been stopping and starting since the turn of the year, operating on a limited basis due to restrictions. The airline currently operates a daily Amsterdam-Johannesburg service and flies to and from Cape Town four times a week.

KLM Boeing 787-9 Amsterdam Getty
KLM will offer daily flights to and from South Africa. Photo: Getty Images

The airline plans to introduce daily flights to its Amsterdam-Cape Town route during the summer, with demand likely to be high. In a statement, the airline clarified that face masks are still mandatory onboard all flights. It also outlined its policy that allows passengers to postpone or cancel their trip without surcharge until December this year.

There are still stringent entry requirements

The removal of the flight ban does not mean all restrictions have been lifted. Passengers traveling from South Africa will still need to show a negative COVID test result to enter the Netherlands. Currently, requirements allow a negative PCR test taken up to 24 hours before boarding, or both a negative PCR test 72 hours before arrival and a negative antigen/rapid test taken up to 24 hours before boarding.

The good news for travelers is the reduction of the mandatory quarantine/self-isolation period from 10 days to five days. However, a negative PCR test must be provided on day five, or travelers will need to complete the full 10 day period.

Good News For KLM: Netherlands Lifts Flight Ban From South Africa
The Netherlands has relaxed some of its entry requirements, but others remain in place. Photo: KLM

Since January, the Netherlands has imposed restrictions on flights to and from South Africa due to concerns over the ‘South African’ variant. From January 23rd, the Netherlands enforced some of the world’s strictest travel restrictions at the time, which included a ban on passenger flights from South Africa (with a few exceptions).

Since the flight ban, a limited flight schedule from South Africa permitted only Dutch and EU nationals into the country, with very stringent testing requirements. The ban forced KLM to suspend its South African network before the Dutch airline resumed operations in late February.

Have you been affected by the South Africa flight ban in any way? Let us know your experience in the comments.

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