Mbalula's gazette hints at no international travel soon
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Durban - A departmental gazette issued by Fikile Mbalula, the minister of transport, hinted that while there are desperate pleas for international air travel to resume immediately, it may not happen soon.
The gazette was issued on Wednesday (and came into effect the same day) just hours before President Cyril Ramaphosa was to address the nation amid expectations that most restrictions like air travel, organising of music concerts and mass gatherings would be permitted when he moves the country to level 1 in a few days.
In the gazette, Mbalula said the "directions" means the directions on measures to address, prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19 in the air services.
“Domestic passenger flights are permitted at the following domestic airports: (i) Bram Fischer International Airport; (ii) Cape Town International Airport; (iii) East London; (iv) George Airport; (v) Hoedspruit Airport; Kimberly Airport; (vii) King Shaka International Airport; (viii) Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport;
“(ix) Lanseria International Airport; (x) Margate Airport; (xi) Mthatha Airport; (xii) OR Tambo International Airport; (xiii) Phalaborwa Airport; (xiv) Pietermaritzburg Airport; (xvi) Plettenberg Bay Airport (xvii) Polokwane Airport (xviii) Port Elizabeth International Airport; (xix) Richards Bay Airport; (xixi) Sishen Airport (xixii)Skukuza Airport; and (xixiii)Upington International Airport."
Since the gazette amends the previous issued when the country was moved to level 2 mid-August, only three new airports were added to the list. The airports are Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape, Polokwane in Limpopo and Sishen in the Northern Cape.
This means now that domestic air travel is now permitted in 21 state-owned regional and international airports.
The latest gazette from Mbalula could dash the hopes of the Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa, representing foreign carriers, and the Airlines Association of Southern Africa, representing local and regional airlines. They wanted Ramaphosa to open the country’s skies.