Unauthorized Landing of Chartered Flight at O.R. Tambo International

At approximately 12h30 on Wednesday, 1 April 2020, a private charter aircraft landed at OR Tambo International Airport from Harare, Zimbabwe with one passenger on board. 

The flight was not cleared by the Department of Transport as required in terms of the current protocols in force during the lockdown.  The passenger and the crew were held at the airport whilst the airport sought guidance on how to handle the flight.  Subsequently, a decision was made that the passenger, who is an Italian national holding a South African passport, would not be allowed to enter the country.

The passenger initially refused to leave, but with the intervention of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the flight left the South African airspace at 19h50, returning to Harare, Zimbabwe.

The Department, working closely with its aviation entities, is reviewing the applicable protocols to ensure that only flights with the necessary approval are allowed to enter the South African airspace.  This requires seamless co-ordination between the Department of Transport, the Air Traffic Navigation Services (ATNS) and the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA).

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has called for a full investigation into the incident and consequence management should wrongdoing be found to have taken place.

Transport Ministry

Ayanda Allie Paine

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