Covid-19 repatriations: SAA to fly visitors to home countries

SAA crew will fly foreign citizens who are healthy to their home countries.
SAA crew will fly foreign citizens who are healthy to their home countries.
Image: SAA

Tourists, foreign workers and students stranded in SA by the sudden Covid-19 lockdown will be able to return home on chartered flights operated by SAA.

This was announced on Thursday by SAA's business rescue practitioners Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana.

The first of these chartered flights will be for the repatriation of German citizens to their home country. They are expected to depart from Friday — from Johannesburg to Munich and Cape Town to Frankfurt.

Negotiations are ongoing with other governments for the repatriation of their citizens.

The skies were closed to all passenger air travel, with the exception of cargo flights delivering essential supplies, for the 21-day national lockdown starting at midnight on March 26.

“Subsequent to the announcement and the start of the lockdown, representatives of several governments have engaged with the joint business rescue practitioners of SAA to consider having SAA provide the safe passage of their citizens to their respective home countries,” the practitioners said in a statement.

With the government's permission, SAA is now permitted to provide repatriation charter flights to various international destinations.

To address the health and safety concerns of both passengers and crew and in compliance with the lockdown regulations, no-one who has tested positive for Covid-19 will be allowed to board. Screening will be conducted and passengers with flu-like symptoms will also be excluded.

“In these difficult times, SAA is committed to collaborating with all its partners and stakeholders in the fight against Covid-19. The airline will ensure the necessary transfer of passengers and essential cargo takes place in a safe and compliant manner for all during these flights”, the business rescue practitioners said.


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