South Africans learnt on 28 December that tighter lockdown restrictions would be introduced at midnight to curb the rising number of coronavirus infections in the country. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the return to Level 3, with a few adjustments to the previous Level 3 restrictions.
As a result of the shift to lockdown Level 3, revised regulations for travellers have been issued by the Ministry of Transport. The rules regulating travel within South Africa were released on 29 December at a ministerial briefing.
REVISED REGULATIONS FOR DOMESTIC AIR TRAVEL
- Scheduled flights will be permitted to take off and land between 08:00 and 20:00.
- Airports will be allowed to open earlier and later than this to process passengers.
- Travel to COVID-19 hotspots is discouraged.
- South Africa’s international borders will remain open.
- Face masks must be worn on all public transport.
- No permits are required for inter-provincial travel — as was previously the case under level 3.
- Passengers who can present genuine boarding passes or passport stamps (relating to international travel) will not be penalised for movements during curfew hours.
- Alcohol may not be transported unless it is for export or if manufacturers are transporting it for storage or if it is used in industry.
Following the release of the new rules, South Africa’s local airlines have had to make adjustments to their flight schedules, inflight services and onboard catering. Passengers who are due to fly should take note that several airlines have cancelled or rescheduled flights to comply with the new regulations.
Since no flights may depart before 08:00 and arrive after 20:00, all airlines have had to cancel flights that operate outside the permitted time period. Most other flights will operate as usual. Passengers who are booked to travel on flights between 08:00 and 20:00 will not be affected.
PASSENGERS FLYING WITH AIRLINK
Airlink is adjusting its schedule of early morning and evening departures so that customers can comply with the new curfew with minimal disruption to their travel plans. The adjusted schedule will apply until 15 January.
Schedule changes will generally affect flights that were originally due to depart before 08:00 and arrive after 20:00. Rescheduled flights will depart as soon after 08:00 as possible and where applicable will arrive before 20:00.
Airlink will communicate schedule changes to customers holding tickets for any affected flights. Customers may consult the flight schedule on Airlink’s website. Customers can also change existing reservations online using the “Manage My Booking” function on the site.
Updates will be made through Airlink’s customer care centre from Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 16:30. They may be contacted on (011) 451-7337 or via Airlink’s flight schedule page on its website.
PASSENGERS FLYING WITH FLYSAFAIR
FlySafair will inform affected passengers of any adjustments by email and telephonically. Passengers are also asked to check FlySafair’s website and social media channels for updates. No actions are required from passengers other than to take note of their new flight departure times.
FlaySafair’s customer care centre and airport counters can assist passengers affected by the changes. The customer care centre can be contacted on 087-357-0030.
The airline is easing restrictions for customers who voluntarily decide to cancel their trips. All customers can make penalty-free date changes. Fare differences will be charged if applicable. Customers can also convert existing tickets to a voucher for future use, subject to the airline’s standard R300 fee. This will apply while Level 3 restrictions remain in place.
PASSENGERS FLYING WITH KULULA
Kulula’s flight schedule has been adjusted for travel from 29 December until 15 January. Passengers who will be impacted most are those booked to travel on Kulula’s flights which were scheduled to operate in the early morning and late evening.
Affected customers will be contacted and re-accommodated by the airline. If customers would prefer to be booked on new flights, they must contact Kulula’s contact centre on 0861 KULULA (0861-585-852) for further assistance. All of the airline’s other flights will operate as scheduled.