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Just three domestic airlines to fly in SA from Monday due to level 4 restrictions

Wendy Knowler Consumer journalist
Flysafair is one of only three airlines that will be operating in SA from Monday until the end of the month. The other two are Mango and Airlink. File photo.
Flysafair is one of only three airlines that will be operating in SA from Monday until the end of the month. The other two are Mango and Airlink. File photo.

Flysafair, Mango and Airlink are the only domestic airlines that will be operating in SA from Monday July 5 until the end of the month.

As a response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s moving the country to level 4 lockdown restrictions on Sunday, and the prohibition on all non-essential travel in and out of Gauteng, both Comair — which operates Kulula and British Airways (BA) — and Lift Airline have announced that they will be suspending all scheduled flights for three weeks.

Kulula and BA flights are set to resume on July 30, “subject to regulations being eased and Covid-19 infection rates, particularly in Gauteng, being contained”. Lift’s schedule is only set to resume on August 1.

FlySafair has opted to continue operating, but with a reduced schedule.

“We’ve had to make some changes to fit in with the 9pm curfew, but the flights will still operate,” FlySafair's chief marketing officer Kirby Gordon told TimesLIVE on Friday.

“Business are still operating and people still need to get to funerals and the like, so there can’t be a complete suspension of domestic flights.

“Obviously we respect that people are not permitted, and shouldn’t, travel for leisure at the moment — especially to Gauteng, but we are committed to still being there for those who do need to travel for essential reasons,” he said.

The airline is offering penalty-free changes and full refunds to passengers’ FlySafair wallets for those who wish to cancel pre-booked flights — on all routes.

Mango and Airlink also intend to continue operating as scheduled.

Airlink tweeted on Friday afternoon: “Even though leisure travel to Gauteng is not permitted, transiting through Gauteng to your final destination is permitted.”

Those with return flights booked on Kulula, BA or Lift from Monday can be accommodated by FlySafair, Gordon said. “Lift has already moved their affected passengers on to our flights.”

Lift has advised its customers with bookings during the suspension period to change or cancel them via their online “Manage my Booking” facility, without any penalty fees.

“You can rebook to fly before or on July 4 or rebook to fly from August 1 onwards. No penalty fees will apply for cancellations or flight changes‚ but a difference in fare may apply to flight changes.

“Your flight can also be cancelled into a Lift wallet and all credits can be used for any future flights or associated services‚ such as seats and baggage.”

Kulula has asked its affected passengers to make booking changes online at kulula.com/manage-booking.

Those who hold a valid ticket booked for travel between June 28 and July 29 will be able to use their ticket within twelve months from the first date of travel, without any penalty.

The British Airways “Book with Confidence” policy will apply to all customers holding a valid ticket with British Airways operated by Comair, the company said.

The restrictions will be reviewed on July 11, President Ramaphosa said. 

GET IN TOUCH: You can contact Wendy Knowler for advice with your consumer issues via e-mail: consumer@knowler.co.za or on Twitter: @wendyknowler.

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