Aviation: South African Airways announces suspension of all flights with immediate effect

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Struggling South African Airways (SAA), has suspended all its flight with immediate effect as the dreaded Coronavirus cripples economic activities across the globe.

The carrier which has been surviving on government support said in a statement that it will suspend all regional and international operations until the end of May in response to a government travel ban aimed at stopping the transmission of the Coronavirus COVID-19.

SAA said it will only render services domestically between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The suspension of flights according to the airline follows the gazetting of Regulations and the issuing of a Notice to Air Men (NOTAM), an official government notice prohibiting the embarkation and disembarkation of crew and passengers from SAA’s three international destinations. The regulation is effective from Friday March 21.

“The regulation, gazetted by Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, means no flight from high risk countries including United States, Germany, United Kingdom, will be allowed into South Africa.
SAA’s high risk destinations are New York, Washington DC, Frankfurt and London.”

“Amongst others, the regulation issued on Thursday, states that: “Disembarkation of foreign nationals from the high-risk countries is suspended on airports upon arrival. Embarkation and disembarkation is permissible under the following circumstance: Disembarkation of a returning South African citizens and permanent residents, embarkation of departing foreign nationals, disembarkation of a declared medical emergency foreign nationals must be approved by port health services, upon landing crew from high risk countries shall be subject to medical screening and quarantine for 21 day”

“In support of efforts by government in dealing with this pandemic, and in the best interests of our crew, passengers and the public, we have decided to suspend all international and regional flight until 31 May 2020. It is a responsibility of all of us and not just government to curb further transmission of the virus. Especially because we operate in the high-risk regions” said Acting CEO Zuks Ramasia.

“In addition to the actions mentioned above, SAA will also suspend flight to its regional destinations, Accra (Ghana),, Lusaka (Zanbia), Harare (Zimbabwe), among others.

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