Emirates resumes flights to King Shaka Airport
Durban - EMIRATES resumed flights to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport today after confusion over South Africa’s Covid-19 travel regulations resulted in the cancellation of its first flight since restrictions were imposed on international travel in March.
The Dubai-based airline cancelled Sunday’s flight because the alert level 1 regulations for international travel required international airline crews as well as passengers to have a negative test not older than 72 hours.
In a statement on Monday, Emirates confirmed that all flights to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban were operating as normal.
Emirates spokesperson confirmed yesterday that a flight from Dubai will be arriving in Durban just after 1pm today.
“We can confirm Emirates is flying to both of the other gateways, nothing has changed on that end.”
MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, who was at the airport to welcome the Qatar Airways flight on Sunday, said she was encouraged by the speed at which the national government was moving to resolve the issues that resulted in the cancellation of the Emirates flight.
Dube-Ncube noted that since the first Emirates flight between Durban and Dubai in 2009, the airline has carried more than 2 million passengers on the route.
“Emirates SkyCargo also remains a key enabler in facilitating global trade and export in South Africa by carrying more than 3 8120 039 tonnes of cargo to and from Durban over the last five years, with the majority being automotive and shipping components and perishables,” she said.
FCM Travel Solutions revealed yesterday that South African business travellers have started travelling into Africa. Bonnie Smith, general manager, said travel to Kenya had picked up especially, followed closely by Botswana and Zambia.
Mozambique and Ghana have seen a revival when it comes to business travel from South Africa, she said.
“After months of shutdown and remote working, the reopening of borders for business travel is a very welcome development for multinationals and large enterprises,” said Smith.
She said although the government has opened the borders, travellers were still reluctant to venture outside Africa.
“It’s one thing for government to say travel is permitted again and to lift the travel restrictions, but travellers also need to want to go, airlines need to resume operations, and destination countries need to be ready to welcome South African travellers again,” she added.