Flight delayed during curfew hours? TBCSA clarifies curfew rules for air travellers
When President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the extension of the national curfew due to the rising numbers of Covid-19 infections throughout the country last week, many airlines were alarmed.
The new curfew, which is 11pm to 4am saw domestic airlines cancelling later flights to accommodate the curfew times communicated during the president’s address.
CEO of The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said they had seen an increase in flight cancellations as passengers feared being on the road during the curfew hours.
"We spoke to the Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane and industry stakeholders to come to a conclusion that would not affect domestic flights. An agreement was reached for all travellers using flights to be allowed to be on the road during curfew times if their flight was delayed or if the flight arrives closer or later than curfew time. All they have to do is produce their boarding pass as a proof should they be stopped by the police while completing their journey,” he said.
The tourism industry relies on both domestic and international tourists to boost the sector’s revenue and the country’s economy, especially during the pandemic. Due to the effects of the Covid-19 this year, experts have forecast South Africa to record its lowest GDP growth in 90 years as the economy’s decline is predicted to be 7.2 percent.
"The cancellation of flights locally will lead to massive job losses in the tourism sector and further decline to the economy. As much as the curfew will continue to impact the industry's revenues immensely, we continually encourage that we follow all the government guidance, regulations, and protocols.
“Now more than ever, collaboration across sectors is imperative to ensure flights domestically and locally continue. We will save countless jobs and assist the economy to move towards an upwards trajectory. We encourage the domestic travellers and airliners not to cancel their flights so we can continue to save the tourism sector," said Tshivhengwa.
TBCSA has developed a digital industry application and the Travel Safe – Eat Safe certification programs alongside industry partners.
All establishments, including airlines, are encouraged to enrol in the certification programme and utilise the official Covid-19 screening and protocols app to record compliance.