Article Posted: 17 September 2020
South Africans will be able to go on holidays abroad and inbound tourists will be welcome again from 1 October, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday night.
International travel will only be allowed through the main border ports or through OR Tambo International, Cape Town International, or King Shaka International.
Acsa (Airports Company South Africa) said it is still awaiting official regulations and directives from the Department of Transport which is set to be published in the coming days.
However, it reiterated comments by president Cyril Ramaphosa and warned that travellers need to be absolutely certain of their eligibility to fly and that they are in possession of valid visas to enter or re-enter South Africa before booking flights.
It added that the following requirements will need to met:
- On arrival, travellers will need to present a negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours from the time of departure;
- All travellers will be screened on arrival and those presenting with symptoms will be required to have Covid-19 test; and
- Where necessary, travellers will need to enter mandatory quarantine facilities at their own cost.
“People wishing to travel across borders should monitor our ACSA website for airports and airlines operating during Level 1 and the airline web sites for availability of flights,” it said.
“We expect the number of international passengers to grow gradually as this is an important step on the road to recovery. We greatly look forward to once again welcoming international visitors to our international airports and to South Africa.”
The list of countries that will be allowed for international travel is likely to be limited when travel restarts again on 1 October. Ramaphosa said that the list of permitted countries will be published at a later date and the country’s selected on the latest scientific data.
What it will be like to fly
The government already has strict rules in place for domestic travel, with clear regulations for both airports and airlines.
Passengers are allowed inside the terminal buildings and that temperature screening will be conducted at terminal building entrances before any passenger is allowed entry. No passengers will be allowed inside the terminal buildings without masks.
All the airports have markings on the floor for the social distancing of 1.5 metres. This will be applicable at check-in counters, security checkpoints and airport lounges.
All airline check-in agents will wear face shields and the counters will be installed with protective screens. Check-in counters will also be frequently sanitised.
The check-in process is as follows:
- Passengers should check-in online before going to the airport;
- Online check-in can be done at the screens in the terminal building;
- A limited number of check-in counters will be open and physical distancing rules will apply in these queues;
- Using a check-in counter will take longer.
The security checkpoint process is as follows:
- Passengers will scan their own paper-based or mobile device-based boarding pass to the scanner at the security checkpoint;
- Passengers should remove any metal and electronic items from their person before entering the security queue;
- These items must be placed in the tray at the security scanner;
- This process will minimise the need for security officers to conduct physical pat-downs at the checkpoint.
The boarding process is as follows:
- Physical distancing rules apply for queues to board an aircraft;
- Passengers must scan their own boarding pass at the boarding gate;
- Boarding will be done in a controlled manner with passengers travelling in the rear seats of the aircraft boarding first. Passengers with tickets for Row A, for example, will board last;
- Masks must be worn for the duration of the flight.
The following measures will apply inside the cabin of the aircraft:
- No catering will be allowed:
- No magazines on board;
- The last row will be reserved for isolation of suspected cases.
- All aircraft must be disinfected before entering into service and after each flight.
The disembarkation process will be as follows:
- Masks must continue to be used when disembarking and moving towards the baggage carousels;
- Physical distancing rules will apply at the baggage carousels;
- Crowding close to the baggage carousels will not be permitted.
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