Employees are seen wearing a face mask at the OR Tambo International Airport. Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) announced on Friday that together with other relevant aviation authorities, it had implemented air travel restrictions as detailed by the Minister of Transport in the International Air Services (Covid-19 Restrictions on The Movement Of Air Travel) Regulations, 2020. Photo: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)
Employees are seen wearing a face mask at the OR Tambo International Airport. Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) announced on Friday that together with other relevant aviation authorities, it had implemented air travel restrictions as detailed by the Minister of Transport in the International Air Services (Covid-19 Restrictions on The Movement Of Air Travel) Regulations, 2020. Photo: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

ACSA implements travel restriction from high-risk countries as pandemic rages on

By Sizwe Dlamini Time of article published Mar 20, 2020

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CAPE TOWN – Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) announced on Friday that together with other relevant aviation authorities, it had implemented air travel restrictions as detailed by the Minister of Transport in the International Air Services (Covid-19 Restrictions on The Movement Of Air Travel) Regulations, 2020.

This announcement comes shortly after state-owned South African Airways (SAA) announced it they would be suspending all its regional and international operations due to the Covid-19 outbreak. 

ACSA said in a statement that the regulations detailed by the Transport Minister provided for a ban of passenger air travel from the countries deemed high risk as per the President’s declaration in terms of the National Disaster.

Countries which are deemed as high risk include South Korea, Italy, Spain, Iran, Germany, The United States, The United Kingdom, China and France.

In terms of the travel restrictions, the following measures are now being implemented:

  1. Should an airline from a high-risk country land in South Africa, ATNS together with Airports Company South Africa will follow the process that they have in place where the aircraft will be redirected to a remote parking apron and the relevant authorities will be notified.
  2. Foreign nationals from high-risk countries will not be allowed to disembark the aircraft.
  3. The inbound crew will be screened and quarantined.
  4. South African citizens returning from high-risk countries will be clinically assessed and immediately quarantined.

The following Airports Company South Africa airports will manage scheduled flights from high-risk countries;

  • OR Tambo International Airport
  • Cape Town International Airport
  • King Shaka International Airport

Charter Operators will be re-routed to international airports that have the Port Health capabilities to manage a suspected case The following Airports Company South Africa airports have the necessary capacity and will be ready to handle charter flights:

  • OR Tambo International Airport
  • King Shaka International Airport
  • Upington International Airport
  • Bram Fischer International Airport
  • Port Elizabeth International Airport
  • Cape Town International Airport

ACSA said since the travel ban announcements, some airlines had already started cancelling their scheduled flights and had notified the affected passengers accordingly.

“ACSA regrets any inconvenience caused to both crew and travellers on the first day of the implementation of these travel restrictions, however, minimising the spread of Covid-19 for all nationalities is being prioritised.

“Passengers are encouraged to contact their airlines for details related to their specific flights,” reads the statement.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said this week that various transport sectors were expected to embark on campaigns targeted at limiting Coronavirus infections in South Africa.

“Desktop exercises have been carried out across all our airports, in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) advisory to ensure that screening measures to limit the risk of exportation or importation of the disease are implemented without unnecessary restrictions to international traffic.

“ACSA has since procured and distributed masks for all frontline staff at all ACSA airports,” said Mbalula.

As an integral part of the airport operations value chain, various mandatory measures have been implemented for the airlines and all handling agents. These include all airline and/or ground handling staff carrying out assisted passenger services being required to use personal protective equipment – such as surgical mask and gloves – when facilitating the arrival of international passengers.

BUSINESS REPORT

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