7 South African airports to resume operations from July 1
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Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced during a virtual press briefing on Monday that seven airports will resume operations from July 1, 2020.
The airports to resume operation includes Bram Fischer International Airport, Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, Pietermaritzburg Airport, Port Elizabeth International Airport, Richardsbay Airport, Skukuza Airport and Upington International Airport.
These airports will join the original four airports that commenced flight operations in phase 1, including OR Tambo, Cape Town, King Shaka and Lanseria International Airport.
Mbalula said all international passenger flights were prohibited except those flights authorised by him.
“It has been three weeks since the OR Tambo, King Shaka, Cape Town and Lanseria International airports have been opened for domestic passenger travel,” he said during the briefing.
“We have witnessed airlines gradually taking to the skies mainly through phase 1 approved airports. Following the announcement of phase 1 domestic operations, the airports and airlines submitted their Standard Operating Procedures to the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) for approval, and this was followed by compliance inspections conducted by the Regulator to all four airports.
“Airlines opened for flight bookings immediately thereafter and it took them almost two weeks to build passenger numbers to at least 50 percent capacity,” he said.
Mbalula said the department made "continuous improvement" in areas it observed challenges following consultation with the Department of Health representatives, specifically Port Health. He said that measures were in place to ensure that passengers were adequately prepared for their experience at the airports and to avoid congestion, mainly at security checkpoints when the number of passengers increases and other airports resumes operations.
“While this is work perfectly at the airports currently, it will need to be managed properly as we open for more activity,” he said.
Mbalula also addressed the sanistiser issue. Sanitisers are classified as dangerous goods, causing many to be concerned. He said SACAA has made provision for the carrying limited quantities as a safety measure and in compliance with existing regulations.Mbalula also said SACAA reviewed its earlier decision of "no catering" on board an aircraft by permitting airlines to provide pre-packed meals that must be placed in front of the seat for each passenger before the passenger boarded the aircraft. He said this will allow for minimised movement during flight.