SA to allow domestic air travel for business from June 1

Reported Covid-19 cases now at 29 240.
Image: Shutterstock

South Africa will allow domestic air travel for business purposes only from June 1 as the country further eases coronavirus lockdown regulations, the transport minister said on Saturday.

The country has been largely shut since a nationwide lockdown began in late March. South Africa has reported 29 240 cases of the new coronavirus, with 611 deaths.

From next month, Africa’s most industrialised economy will allow most economic sectors including mining and manufacturing to fully resume operations and has also allowed the sale of alcohol but for home consumption.

“As the country moves to level 3, with more industries resuming operations, learners returning to school, the transport sector must be responsive to enable mobility of both workers and learners,” Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said in a televised briefing.

“In doing so, we must maintain a delicate balance between enabling mobility and arresting the spread of the virus.”

The resumption of domestic flights will be rolled out in three phases, with only four airports allowed to be opened under phase one, he added.

Read:
BRPs: SAA will not resume flights in June
Covid-19 adds to SAA costs

Separately, in an earlier briefing, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa said professional teams and individual athletes who participate in contact and non-contact sport, including rugby and football can start training from Monday under strict social distancing rules.

He said it was important for all training to resume so that athletes could stay in shape for when contact sports resume matches.

The regulations will also allow professional non-contact sports to host sports events without spectators. The minister has yet to publish the regulations, which will name the permitted sporting codes.

The government has also decided to open some parts of the tourism sector such as restaurants, tour operators, public and private game farms and accommodation for business travel earlier than previously indicated to save jobs and sustain the industry.

Read: Embattled tourism industry wants to start ‘opening up’ in Level 3

The past two months of the lockdown have been difficult for the tourism sector, with almost 600,000 jobs at risk if the sector does not operate by September, Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said in a briefing late on Saturday.

The tourism department will provide additional financial relief of R30 million for tourist guides over a period of two to three months, Kubayi-Ngubane said.

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We are getting the timing so wrong. They expect that the peak happens in September but they start opening now. WTF

Its a delicate balancing act. Getting the economy going on one hand and saving lives on the other. There is no win win situation. You cannot be the absolute martyr and save lives only; we’ve seen the queues for food and people are getting restless (cabin fever).
How long can industry keep paying staff salaries for sitting at home?

According to one of the rocket scientists, travelling in a plane is fine. The air is filtered and clean?????

So the guy in F3 coughs and it is immediately filtered……or does it infect everyone from G to k before it gets filtered.

That is the reason one needs to wear protective gear and sanitise.
Basic rules for flying is to
a) wear a good quality mask and dispose of it after the flight,
b) sanitise sanitise sanitise
c) wash your clothes afterwards as a precaution.

One need visa to travel and it is still not open how is this gonna work?

Safair must speak to government about broadening flights for family too – not only business! And as SOON as possible; flights are far safer than other modes of transport!
It’s cruel the way grandparents are cut off from their loved ones and the risk of infection for the elderly in old age homes is FAR bigger in an old age home than staying with their family. The social contact is also critical!

Why only business people and not the elderly. The elderly are more prone to wiping the eyes etc. and therefore prone to catching the virus. One step at a time; as we are all in uncharted territory.

The Safair and Comair brands far surpass that of SAA. The public have confidence in these brands – they must therefore open for business AND family domestic flights ASAP while SAA that flies civil servants mostly, should keep out of the skies. It’s unfair competition because Ramaphosa and Gordhan are getting ready for the next bailout for SAA, while private airlines rely on commercial sound financial policies to remain airborn – no tax and state guarantees!

End of comments.

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