As a result of the new curfew times and other restrictions to slow the rate of Covid-19 infections in South Africa, domestic airlines have announced new adjustments to flight schedules to comply with the lockdown regulations.
On Monday night, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced an extension of the curfew restricting movement in the country between 6 am and 9 pm.
Due to these new restrictions, domestic and regional airlines in South Africa had adjusted their early morning and evening schedules so that passengers can comply with the country’s new curfew with minimal disruption to their travel plans.
Yesterday, Airlink said it would be adjusting its schedule of early morning and evening departures and that the adjustments would affect flights originally due to takeoff before 8am and arrive after 8pm.
A statement from Airlink read “These schedule adjustments will provide customers departing on morning flights with sufficient time to commute to airports and complete the necessary health, security and immigration checks without breaking the curfew. It will also enable passengers landing on evening flights to complete the arrival procedures and commute to their homes or accommodation by the 9pm curfew,”.
Managing director and chief executive Rodger Foster said the safety and well-being of the airline’s customers, crew and staff was of utmost priority.
“Thanks to our stringent application and adherence to bio-security protocols, we have been able to demonstrate that flying is the safest way to travel and that we can continue to support and enable business, tourism and trade without spreading the coronavirus,” Foster said.
The new adjustments made by Airlink will apply at least until January 15 when the government is due to review the efficacy of its adjusted level 3 restrictions.
Another airline Flysafair, also announced early yesterday that due to the curfew change it had been forced to change several flights at short notice.
“All flights scheduled to have departed before 7am will now only depart after 7am. Your flight will take place but at a later time. New times will be communicated via SMS and email. No actions are required from you on your booking other than to take note of the new departure times,” the airline said.
Following the National Coronavirus Command Council’s media briefing yesterday, the airline announced that its departure and arrival time will now be between 8am and 8pm, and it also discouraged travelling to hot spots.
The airline also said that passengers who show passport stamps or boarding passes to officials relating to international travel will not be penalised when moving during the hours of the curfew.
“We have now made adjustments to our schedule for December 30 and 31. Customers affected are being alerted via SMS and email using the details we received when customers made their bookings,” Flysair said.
Kulula and Mango airlines also announced that they too would reschedule their flight times, re-accommodate their affected customers and communicate with them in due time.
“Due to the reinstatement of the adjusted level 3 lockdown restrictions and newly imposed daily curfew from 9pm-6am, there will be an impact on our flight schedule. Affected customers will be re-accommodated and contacted in due course,” Kulula said.
Yesterday, Mango advised its customers to plan for flight readjustment and to arrive at the airport at their original flight times.
“We understand this has left guests confused as to how their flights may be affected. Please note that airlines have equally been caught off guard in this respect and are working hard to make additional arrangements,” Mango said.
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