- As SAA suspends operations over funding
SOUTH Africa has announced that it will be opening three international airports for air travel, today October 1, 2020 with strict adherence to the nation’s COVID-19 protocols the airports are OR Tambo International (in Johannesburg, Gauteng), Cape Town International (in Cape Town, Western Cape) and King Shaka International in (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal).
This is coming as operations of the country’s national carrier, South African Airways (SAA) were immediately suspended by administrators in charge of the struggling airline on Tuesday.
South Africa closed its borders to foreigners in March and has reported more than 650,000 coronavirus cases and more than 15,000 deaths.
The country in reopening insists that travelers landing at these airports must present a PCR test which is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin
“Three airports will be opened and operational for international air travel. These airports are OR Tambo International (in Johannesburg, Gauteng), Cape Town International (in Cape Town, Western Cape) and King Shaka International in (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal).
“All travellers landing at these airports must present a PCR test which is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. Furthermore, the international travellers should possess a mandatory travel insurance which is supposed to cover the COVID-19 test and quarantine costs.
“All these travellers will be subjected to COVID-19 screening on arrival. Those who present COVID-19 symptoms which include elevated body temperatures and flu-like symptoms will be required to take a COVID-19 test which should be covered by the travel insurance.
“Should the test results come back positive, the traveller will be subjected to mandatory quarantine, which will also be paid for by the traveller or the travel insurance.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s flag carrier, South African Airways, has suspended all operations while its administrators try to raise cash while the airline’s rescue practitioners have warned of a lack of funds while keeping creditors updated over the deteriorating situation.
In a bid to preserve what little money remains, the administrators have immediately ceased all airline operations and put it under “care and maintenance” until crucial funding can be negotiated for restructuring.
Last December, the cash-strapped airline entered into a form of bankruptcy protection following nearly ten years of financial losses. Then the coronavirus pandemic happened and wreaked havoc on the troubled carrier.
SAA’s troubles worsened in March when the government imposed restrictions on international travel forcing it to suspend operations.
In June following the publication of the administrators’ rescue plan, the South African government and private investors needed to inject 10 billion rand ($590 million) into the state-owned-airline.
The new injection of money was to allow South African Airways to replace its aging fleet for modern fuel-efficient planes. At the same time, the bloated airline would downsize to a sustainable level by shedding jobs.
Till date, SAA is still waiting on government for the injection of funds as no money has been forthcoming, forcing the administrators to shelve the rescue plan and cease operations until such a time that money would be available.