This article seeks to provide a brief update on the latest amendments brought about to combat the spread of Covid-19 in airports and the air services industry.
On 25 February 2021, the Minister of Transport signed off on the latest amended Directions issued in terms of the relevant Regulations to the Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002, which Directions came into effect on 1 March 2021.
Scheduled international flights and charter flights carrying passengers are still allowed at the following airports:
1) O.R. Tambo International Airport;
2) King Shaka International Airport; and
3) Cape Town International Airport.
Long-haul flight landings and departures at the airports listed above are permitted during the amended curfew hours which are, as at date of publishing this article, from midnight to 04:00am. Passengers affected by flights at these airports must furnish evidence of a flight ticket when stopped by law enforcement officials during the amended curfew hours.
An air service operator conducting an international flight is allowed to provide catering, including pre-packed meals, to passengers on-board the aircraft, provided that the operator takes all risk mitigation and health and safety measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.
It is important to note that the above provision relates to international flights only. An air service operator conducting a domestic (local) flight is not allowed to provide catering on-board the aircraft, except for bottled water. Further, a passenger on a domestic flight is not allowed to eat on-board the aircraft.
However, an operator may furnish self-service complimentary magazines which passengers may pick up as they enter the aircraft, subject to the condition that such magazines must not be shared amongst the passengers on the flight, and if such magazines are left behind by the passengers after the particular flight has ended, they must be safely disposed of.
It is also compulsory for all airlines to adjust their flight times to be in line with the amended curfew times from midnight to 04:00am.
Author: Blaine Saunders