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International airlines prepare to resume scheduled flights to South Africa

Gabriel Agyemang

Sept. 18, 2020

European Airlines indicate a willingness to resume scheduled operations to Johannesburg and Cape Town from 1 October.
The president’s announcement on 16 September that South Africa’s borders will reopen on 1 October, has been welcomed by individuals and businesses alike. International airlines that have been unable to operate commercial flights to South Africa are also pleased with this development.
President Ramaphosa indicated that South Africa’s borders will be opened to countries with similar infection trajectories to South Africa. This is in order to reduce risks of increasing the infection rate through imported cases.
The list of countries that will be open for travel to and from South Africa will still be announced, based on scientific evidence.
Two major European airlines will add South Africa onto their route networks again. Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will operate flights from Europe to Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Both airlines will recommence scheduled flights from 1 October. Air France and KLM’s Regional Manager of the Southern African region, Wouter Vermeulen said the airlines were pleased to be able to return to South Africa.
“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 Wouter Vermeulen.
Since air travel is viewed as having an elevated risk for transmitting COVID-19, it is essential that airlines adhere to health and safety protocols to protect passengers and crew.
Protocols include the wearing of masks throughout the flight and the availability of hand sanitisers on board the aircraft. Aircraft will also be thoroughly sanitised after each flight.
Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines aircraft are fitted with HEPA filters, which replace cabin air every three minutes, with air from outside the aircraft.
Vermeulen said, “We are ready. From the start of the pandemic we have worked tirelessly to make ourselves safe again. We have worked to have airport processes in place and to have the processes in the aircraft in place so that both passengers and our staff are safe, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
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