Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa will be easing lockdown restrictions to level one from Monday 21 September. The president also announced that entering a new level also means opening up South Africa’s borders for the first time since March with international flights set to resume from 1 October 2020 subject to government regulations which are yet to be gazetted and announced. However, in preparation, international airlines have started opening ticket sales as they prepare for take off.
Wouter Vermeulen, General Manager: Southern African Region at Air France-KLM says that the aviation industry is both pleased and relieved by the announcement made by President Cyril Ramaphosa about the reopening of borders and that Air France – KLM is committed to ensuring a safe flying experience for all passengers and crew once commercial aviation is reinstated on 1 October 2020. “We are very happy with the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that scheduled flights can resume shortly. Over the past few months, Air France – KLM have been actively involved in a series of repatriation flights which have been critical in assisting passengers who needed to travel during the travel restrictions. But now that the borders are open again, we are very excited to resume commercial operations to and from Johannesburg and Cape Town.”
Vermeulen adds “These flights will operate in the same manner as the repatriation process, with thorough safety measures in place both on the ground and on-board our aircraft. Passengers and crew will be required to wear a mask for the duration of the flight, we will have additional hand sanitisers on board and ensure ample sanitation of the aircraft to ensure thatour passengers and crew feel safe and secure during their flight and have peace of mind. Now that we are allowed to take to the skies for commercial flights, we look forward to welcoming our passengers back on board and contribute toward the revival and success of the aviation business and tourism industry in South Africa.”
As flight sales open, travellers are excited to see that prices are at some of the cheaptest in years. According to Business Insider, KLM’s booking site quoted them R16,139 for a one-way flight from Cape Town to Amsterdam on 24 or 27 September. For October, that price drops to R9,189 and a no-frills, hand-luggage-only ticket from Johannesburg to London departing on 1 December and returning at the end of that month, British Airways on Thursday quoted a price of R9,557.
This seems to be a trend with international airlines:
- RwandAir to Kigali: R5,360 ($346)
- Ethiopian to Addis Ababa: R5,971
- Kenya Airways to Nairobi: R12,530
- Air Mauritius to Port Louis: R10,971
- Air Seychelles to Mahé: R9,006
- Qatar Airways, to Doha: R13,817
- Emirates to Dubai: R16,198
- El Al to Tel Aviv: R6,279
- Lufthansa to Munich: R10,030
- Swiss International to Zurich: R8,660
It’s important for passengers travelling internationally, either from or to South Africa, to familiarise themselves with and comply to the COVID-19 regulations and travel restrictions in order to permit them to travel.