Charter flight denied entry to South Africa

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A passenger arriving on a private charter at OR Tambo International Airport was not allowed to disembark, the Ministry of Transport said.

“At approximately 12:30pm on Wednesday, a private charter aircraft landed at OR Tambo International Airport from Harare, Zimbabwe, with one passenger on board,” said the ministry.

The flight was not cleared by the Department of Transport as required in terms of protocols for the country’s 21 day lockdown.

“The passenger and crew were held at the airport while the airport sought guidance on how to handle the flight. Subsequently, a decision was made that the passenger, an Italian national, holding a South African passport, would not be allowed to enter the country.”

The passenger initially refused to leave. With the intervention of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the flight left South African airspace at 7:50pm, returning to Harare.

Minister Fikile Mbalula called for a full investigation into the incident and consequence management should  wrongdoing be found.

“The Department of Transport, working closely with its aviation entities, is reviewing applicable protocols to ensure only flights with necessary approval are allowed to enter South African airspace.

“This requires seamless co-ordination between the department, Air Traffic Navigation Services (ATNS) and the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA),” the Ministry said.