Picture: Rogan Ward/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture: Rogan Ward/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

SAA to fly German nationals back home from Friday, costs fall on German government

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Apr 2, 2020

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Johannesburg - South African Airways (SAA) will begin to charter flights from Cape Town and Joburg from Friday to repatriate German nationals back home following requests from the German government.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali confirmed that the airline had received various requests from several governments, including Germany and Belgium, who were concerned about their citizens who were trapped in South Africa because of the lockdown.

The 21-day national lockdown which was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week and began last week Friday saw the banning of international and domestic travel. Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula had explained on Monday that the regulations had been tweaked to allow for the repatriations to take place and for the movement of cargo for essential services.

The costs for the respective repatriations will be paid for by the respective governments, Tlali confirmed.

 "The costs will be borne by the respective customers, the individual governments will handle the costs for the projects," Tlatli said on eNCA on Thursday.

The first chartered flights will depart on Friday heading to Munich and Frankfurt.  

Tlali said there were conditions in place such as ensuring that all those who board the planes are screened for Covid-19 and ensuring the flights are safe.

He said arrangements for these special flights were done through embassies of the respective countries. Tlali also confirmed that the national airline was in talks with the department of international relations and corporations regarding the repatriation of South Africans who are stranded in different parts of the world.

Dirco Minister Naledi Pandor said 1471 South Africans were stuck abroad with the bulk being students. She confirmed that the government was working on a plan to get them back home, but that priority would be given to those in need and lacked financial support.

It is unclear when these arrangements will be made.

The first flight carrying Brazil national departed from OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday. The LATM aircraft carried 321 passengers.

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