Pretoria - Commercial flights will return to Polokwane Gateway Airport from October 18, with additional services to start from October 23.
The flights will be operated by Airlink, which plans to relaunch its three-times-a-day scheduled service to and from the airport between Polokwane and Johannesburg.
In April, commercial flights were suspended from landing or flying from the airport because of non-compliance.
Owing to severe security breaches, the province’s biggest airport was downgraded from Category 7 to 2 by the SA Civil Aviation Authority.The five-month suspension afforded Gateway Airports Authority time to upgrade its emergency services to comply with regulatory requirements.
The Limpopo Department of Community Safety and Transport announced last week that the airport would be reopened to commercial flights, paving the way for the independent airline to resume its flights.
Airlink is the only commercial flight carrier operating from Polokwane.
Transport and Community Safety MEC Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya welcomed the reinstatement of commercial flights at the airport.
“A team from the Department of Transport and Community Safety was assembled with the assistance of other stakeholders to attend to the findings in order to restore commercial activities in the province’s biggest airport.
“All findings were addressed within a period of five months and the airport has been given a green light to resume with its operations from mid-October.”
Lerule-Ramakhanya decried the absence of the commercial flights during the Heritage long weekend.
“Thousands of motorists were delayed due to heavy traffic congestion on the N1 and other busy roads in the province during the long weekend. The resumption of commercial flights will come as a relief to hundreds of business people and holidaymakers who often prefer to fly between Polokwane and OR Tambo.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the people of Limpopo and South Africa for their patience from April until now,” she said.