Drop-off and pick-up rules eased at OR Tambo
Passengers have pleaded with Acsa to ease its drop-off and pick-up arrangements put in place for the Covid-19 pandemic.
Acsa spokesperson Samukelo Khambule confirmed this week a number of entry and exit points, previously closed, have now reopened at the airport in Johannesburg, making it easier for passengers to arrive at and leave the airport.
“The time is right to further ease pandemic-related restrictions. We are pleased to welcome increasing numbers of passengers every day, and want to make access to the terminal easier for departing passengers,” she said.
The closing of various entry and exit points to and from OR Tambo International has caused havoc in the past few months.
Khambule said the decision to close various ports of entry was part of strict regulations implemented.
“Lockdown regulations applied by the SA Civil Aviation Authority required that airports had processes in place to control and direct the flow of people and vehicles during the pandemic,” she said.
“These processes and protocols were inspected by the SA Civil Aviation Authority prior to the airport reopening in June.
“Among these protocols was a requirement that only passengers be allowed into terminal buildings, which in turn required closure of most terminal entrances.”
Khambule said regulations have been eased in the last few weeks.
“There are now ground level exit and entry points to the terminal for people needing to get to the piazza open-air area, which is for use by taxis and e-hailing services. Exit for these services takes place on the lower level in the same way as previously.
“The upper roadway is open for drop-offs and a number of entrances to the terminal building on the upper level are open. Exiting from the upper roadway takes place in the same way as previously.”
However, pick-ups by private vehicles can only be done from Parkade 2 South levels 2, 3 and 4, where parking for the first 30 minutes is free.
“Level 2 of Parkade 2 South is for pick-ups of passengers by private vehicles. Arriving passengers are directed through a covered bridge from the terminal building to this parkade. There are several entrances to parking areas on each level.
“Parkade 2 South has four levels. Exits from each level of this parkade ultimately channel traffic into single lanes and onto the freeway. This configuration has been in place since the parkade was built.”
She added the parkade for long-term parking, underneath City Lodge, has also opened.
“Before you can take a ticket at the boom, a voice note plays a warning that you are entering long-term parking where tariffs are high for short stays, but average out at R65 per day after four days.”
“Level 1 of the parking basement closest to international arrivals is open. The exit from this level ultimately joins the freeway in the same way as previously.”
While several passengers have complained about congestion due to the closure of several exit points, Khambule said it was common for airports to get congested during peak times.
“This was also the case before the pandemic. We appeal to passengers and drivers to exercise patience and restraint. The rules in place are for the protection of all of us.
“Our monitoring and enforcement of physical distancing is consciously not heavy-handed.
“We ultimately rely on the good sense of the people visiting the airport to apply the same protocols that we all experience in our daily lives,” she said.
Khambule said OR Tambo had various safety protocols in place. With increased domestic air travel, she said it was of utmost importance to keep passengers safe.
“OR Tambo International Airport has applied the regulations determined from time to time by national government. Implementation of these regulations is translated into directives of the SA Civil Aviation Authority and monitored by that authority.
“Masks, physical distancing and sanitisation are mandatory. Passengers are temperature-checked by Port Health before proceeding through the security checkpoint. Port Health requires that passengers provide a completed health questionnaire,” she said.
Khambule said other airports such as King Shaka International and Cape Town International had similar protocols in place.
“Each airport makes arrangements depending on its particular layout and circumstances. You would need to contact the individual airports for details.”