Open letter to travel industry from Air France GM
By Wouter Vermeulen
To all our customers and travel industry family,
First and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones are in good health and high spirits. It has been a most challenging year so far.
The measures that governments had to take, all around the world, to curb the spread of the virus have impacted all of our lives in one way or another. Needless to say that with the borders closed around the globe, it has been especially difficult for international aviation and for all who depend on it.
During the time the borders were closed in South Africa, the Air France KLM team has done everything in their power to keep a vital link between South Africa and Europe alive.
Since the beginning of April, we have operated 101 repatriation flights, bringing close to 18.000 people from South Africa to Europe and beyond and from all over the world home to South Africa.
The Air France KLM team has worked tirelessly and around to clock to serve all in need of travel. We operated all our flights; not a single repatriation flight has been cancelled. We have tried to be there for those in need of travel, committed to what we promised, as best as we could working within all constraints of the lockdown.
It has been clear from the beginning of this pandemic that the nature of this virus dictated immediate action to change our processes and protocols to secure the health and safety of our passengers and crew. Air France KLM has developed and implemented strict health and safety measures on board of all our flights. And together with airport and civil aviation authorities, proper health and safety protocols have been created and processes implemented, to create a safe airport environment for all passengers going through.
It is with great relief and excitement that we can say that international commercial aviation is allowed again in South Africa! In line with what was announced by President Ramaphosa, we will have commercial flights operating to South Africa as per 01 October 2020. Air France and KLM is ready to serve again the international business community in the country and help reviving the tourism industry that is so vital for the South African economy. We will start operating between hubs in Paris and Amsterdam to both Johannesburg and Cape Town several times per week, growing to daily services later this year.
We have been serving South Africa since the early days of aviation, more than 82 years ago. We have been serving South Africa in the most challenging time in the history of the aviation industry during lock down. And we will keep serving South Africa going forward, connecting the world to one of the most beautiful countries there is.
I hope we can welcome you, when you are ready to fly again, on one of our flights.
We will be there for you.
Wouter Vermeulen is the General Manager of Air France-KLM South Africa.