Government boosts economic activity by reopening of additional airports for business travel
JOHANNESBURG – The government has moved to boost more economic activity with the reopening of additional airports for domestic business travel under advanced alert level 3 lockdown.
This move is expected to allow for the resumption of operations in aviation and related industries.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Monday announced the opening of domestic air travel for business and other essential travel for seven more airports from Wednesday.
Mbalula said the reopening would include the Bram Fischer, Kruger Mpumalanga, Port Elizabeth and Upington international airports as well as Pietermaritzburg; Richards Bay, Skukuza airports.
He said all aerial work such as agricultural spraying, seeding and dusting, aerial harvesting, patrol, observation and survey; including aerial advertisement, would now be permitted.
This would follow the opening of the OR Tambo, King Shaka, Cape Town and Lanseria international airports which Mbalula approved three weeks ago under strict guidelines.
Mbalula said international passenger flights, however, remained prohibited.
He said it was important that the government relaxed the restriction to mitigate against the impact of the Covid-19 on businesses and jobs.
“It was critical for us to test the efficiency and impact of the guidelines we issued against the health and safety of the passengers and aviation personnel operating in this space and we are pleased with the progress we have observed to date,” Mbalula said.
“All these measures are in line with the gradual reopening of our economy, as we enter a new normal and journey together, towards a healthier, safer and more prosperous South Africa.”
This comes as Statistics South Africa last week said the number of unemployed persons increased by 344 000 to 7.1 million in the first three months of the year.
Business Leadership SA chief executive Busi Mavuso said the government needed to deliver a comprehensive reform package to attract investment and boost confidence again.
“Mboweni seems to realise the state of our finances is an existential threat. But we were disappointed in the solutions on offer to avoid this fate,” Mavuso said.
“We now need the president, along with the cabinet as a whole, to outline and deliver a comprehensive economic reform package that will spark confidence in the private sector to start investing.”