While international passenger flights remain prohibited, with the exception of those authorised by the Transport Minister, seven more airports are set to resume operations on 1 July 2020.
At an aviation industry briefing on Monday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said in addition to the airports (OR Tambo, Lanseria, Cape Town International and King Shaka International) that are currently operational, the following would open on 1 July:
Bram Fischer International Airport, Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, Pietermaritzburg Airport, Port Elizabeth International Airport, Richardsbay Airport, Skukuza Airport and Upington International Airport.
“As more airports are opened, this will naturally increase the number of passengers at airports and therefore measures have been put in place to ensure that passengers are prepared for their experience at the airports to avoid congestion, mainly at security check points,” said Mbalula, noting that operations will have to be managed properly come 1 July.
The Minister said to date the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has received about 117 standard operating procedures (SOPs) from industry and more than 87 have been approved.
While sanitisers are classified as dangerous goods, the SACAA has made provision for the carrying of such, in limited quantities, as a safety measure and in compliance with existing regulations to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
For smoother facilitation of passengers at airports, operators have urged the flying community to arrive at least two hours early to allow for sufficient time to process passengers, while adhering to the screening requirements – as per the regulations.
In addition, SACAA has also reviewed its earlier decision of ‘no catering’ on board aircraft by permitting airlines to provide pre-packed meals, which must be placed in front of the seat for each passenger before passengers board the aircraft. This, the Minister said, will allow for minimised movement during flight.
Mbalula said the decision to open more airports was one made after government conducted inspections at the airports, and is satisfied were satisfied with the developments.
“It was critical for us to test the efficiency and impact of the guidelines we issued against the health and safety of the passengers and aviation personnel operating in this space and we are pleased with the progress we have observed to date.
“Like any other area, we are making continuous improvement in areas where we observed challenges, in consultation with the Department of Health representatives, specifically Port Health,” Mbalula said.
As part of the relaxation of regulations, all aerial work to conduct the following will be permitted from 1 July 2020:
agricultural spraying, seeding and dusting; cloud spraying, seeding and dusting; culling; construction; aerial harvesting; aerial patrol, observation and survey; aerial advertisement, including banner towing and other towing of objects; search and rescue; parachuting; aerial recording by photographic or electronic means; fire spotting, control and fighting, and spraying, seeding or dusting, other than for agricultural purposes and clouds.
General aviation is permitted for the following purposes:
Approved regional re-positioning flights for all South African and foreign registered aircraft into and from South Africa for return after maintenance and repair, to perform maintenance and repair, or to continue with contractual work within South Africa or foreign countries within the region; Exchanging of crew members operating in foreign countries as and when required; Transporting of aviation technicians, mechanics and engineers internationally for essential support and assistance to aircraft; Proficiency flights – provided that the flight is authorised by the SACAA and remains within the general flying area, airfield or airport boundaries, and recreational aviation is permitted for proficiency flights – provided that the flight is authorised by the SACAA and remains within the general flying area, airfield or airport boundaries.