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Lockdown changes and domestic flights South Africa

Although the coronavirus crisis is far from over anywhere in the world, things are slowly starting to normalise in South Africa. With this, comes a few long-awaited changes to the country's strict travel regulations.
Lockdown changes and domestic flights South Africa

That means relaxed rules for people travelling on domestic flights within the country.

No more health screening for domestic travellers

The most sweeping change is the cessation of health screening questionnaires for travellers on the domestic flights South Africa has available between major centres and outlying areas.

According to the level one travel rules, health questionnaires are no longer required as of 25 November for passengers travelling within the country’s borders. The Airports Company of South Africa will continue with temperature screening upon entry to its airports and allow entry only to those travellers with the applicable documentation.

Travel permits are no longer required but strict safety measure remain in place. These include:

  • Wearing a mask is mandatory in all public spaces
  • Social distancing is enforced within airport terminals
  • Frequent hand sanitisation procedures are encouraged
  • Online check in is also encouraged to reduce queues at check-in counters and those with hand luggage and a boarding pass should proceed directly to security

Due to the inevitable delays caused by these cautionary measures, travellers should arrive at least 90 minutes before their flight time.

Airlines open for business under lockdown level 1

FlySafair has been in operation since June and welcomes the return of the other major domestic airlines this festive season. Currently, domestic flights South Africa can be booked with the following operators:

  • FlySafair

    This low-cost airline offers domestic flights to Cape Town, Joburg, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, and George. FlySafair has been nominated as the best low-cost carrier in the country on numerous occasions and has recently partnered with Emirates airline to offer international travellers single ticket travel to these destinations when flying with Emirates.

  • Mango

    A cheap and cheerful carrier, with a distinctive orange livery, Mango offers travel between the international airports in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg as well as East London, George, Port Elizabeth, and Bloemfontein.

    You can also fly to Zanzibar with Mango.

  • Kulula

    Kulula operates under the umbrella of Comair and can take you to George, Cape Town, Lanseria, Johannesburg, East London, Port Elizabeth, and Durban.

    The airline also offers flights to Victoria Falls, Windhoek, Harare, Mauritius, Nairobi, and Livingstone thanks to its partnership with British Airways.

  • Airlink

    Airlink’s emerged from the lockdown with a new livery featuring an African sunbird. It’s based at OR Tambo International airport and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport and offers flights across southern Africa.

    Airlink flies to over 20 destinations including Vilankulo, Polokwane, Upington, Richards Bay, and Polokwane as well as all the usual airports.

  • Lift

    SA’s brand new airline operates on a flexible rideshare system and has been operational since 1 December offering flights to and from Cape Town, Johannesburg, and George.

  • British Airways

    Apart from the flights offered by its franchisee, Comair, you can access a wide range of destinations with British Airways when flying domestically. These include Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Hoedspruit, George, Margate, Plettenberg Bay, and Bloemfontein

    Passengers can transit through South Africa again

    Transit facilities are open at all major South African airports so international guests can travel onward to destinations with domestic carriers after arriving in the country.

    The hotel at OR Tambo airport remains closed, so those with long layovers will need to make use of a basic temporary facility at the airport instead.

    Although health screenings do not apply for transitory travel, passengers must present a PCR test certificate no older then 72 hours and must meet any health requirements for onward travel too.

    Back on track for the festive season

    While caution is still advised, the opening of domestic travel in time for the busy December season has been welcomed by the travel industry and travellers alike. If you intend to travel this holiday season, please exercise extreme caution and remember the pandemic is still very much a part of our lives.

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