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Close to 200 days ago, civil aviation activities as
we know them came to a screeching halt.
Between the 01 April – 30 May 2020, when the
country was on Level 4, a total of 19 206
passengers landed at our airports.
Most of these flights were mainly for essential
services and the repatriation and evacuation of
foreign nationals and locals respectively.
When domestic travel commenced at the
beginning of June 2020 during alert Level 3, this
number went up to 391 720 passengers that
landed at approved airports in total.
The statistics for the month of September 2020
will only be reconciled a few weeks down the
Our statistics show that in the past five (5) years
the average number of passengers traversing
between our airports amounted to an average of
1,8 million per month with the highest recorded
figures indicating that over 2 million passengers
per month land at our airports during peak travel
seasons such as the Easter and Christmas
These figures are not meant to shock you but
are merely a demonstration of the real impact of
COVID-19 on the civil aviation industry activities
and businesses since the World Health
Organization announced the global outbreak of
this virus in the first quarter of the year 2020.
In line with the announcement of the President
of the Republic, His Excellency Cyril
Ramaphosa, as well as the Regulations issued
by the Minister of COGTA, Dr Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma, international travel is now
permitted as of 01 October 2020.
It is therefore my immense pleasure to
announce the Directions which are effectively
setting in motion and signaling the reopening of
Regional and International travel from and into
With effect from 01 October 2020, international
passenger flights, inbound into our country from
the African continent and from other countries
outside the African continent, as determined in
accordance with the list determined by the
Minister of Home Affairs following conditions:
Compliance Requirements for Operators
(Airline and Commercial Operators)
- A Foreign Operator (meaning an airline) is
required to submit procedures that show the
level of compliance with South African
COVID-19 legislation for approval to the South
African Civil Aviation Authority.
- Foreign Air Ambulance Services are
permitted to transport COVID-19 positive
patients; provided that they obtain approval
from the Department of Health, a permit issued
by the Department of Transport, and comply
with the Department of Health Protocols and
the Air Ambulance Guidelines that are in place.
- An Operator shall not board any passenger
without a valid negative Polymerase Chain
Reaction (“PCR”) or a valid COVID-19
negative test certificate.
- South African authorities reserve the right to
verify the authenticity of presented PCR or
COVID-19 test certificates.
- Operators are allowed to provide catering
on-board an aircraft, i.e. provided that they
take all risk mitigation, health and safety
measures to contain the spread of COVID-19,
including the provision of pre-packed meals.
Compliance Requirements Relating to
- Passengers are required to wear face
masks at all times and may only remove face
masks during emergencies or when instructed
by cabin crew to take them off, and must
observe social distancing, ensure hand
washing, and sanitize regularly.
- A passenger who is unable to wear a face
mask due to an underlying medical condition
must submit a medical certificate from a
registered medical practitioner to the Operator
prior to departure.
- A child under the age of two years may be
exempted from wearing a face mask. This is
because masks can restrict breathing for small
children as their airways are smaller than older
children and adults.
- A passenger must provide to the Operator a
negative PCR test certificate or a valid
COVID-19 negative test certificate, obtained
not more than 72 hours before the date of
travel, from an accredited laboratory and in
line with the World Health Organization
- An “immunity passport”, “risk-free certificate”
or “passport immunity” in respect of COVID-19
is not acceptable.
- If a passenger is symptomatic, the
necessary protocols of the Department of
Health will be followed.
- In the event of the passenger’s failure, for
whatever reason, to submit a certificate as
proof of a negative PCR test certificate or a
valid COVID-19 negative test certificate upon
arrival in South Africa, the passenger shall be
subjected to a compulsory quarantine at a
g o v e r n m e n t d e s i g n a t e d f a c i l i t y a s
contemplated for in Health Directions, at his or
her own cost.
- International travel from countries listed as
having a high COVID-19 infection and
transmission rate, is prohibited, except for
business travel, which may be allowed with the
approval of the Cabinet member responsible
for Home Affairs, in which case such
passengers must comply with the stipulated
- A passenger in transit must be in
possession of a negative PCR test certificate
or a valid COVID-19 negative test certificate,
obtained not more than 72 hours before the
date of travel, from an accredited laboratory.
- A passenger in transit who displays
symptoms of COVID-19 must, upon arrival and
under the direction of Ports Health:
(a) Be taken through primary and secondary
screening, including COVID-19 testing,
(b) Be quarantined, at own cost, if a positive
test result is obtained. In this case, all
Department of Health protocols and
Department of Transport guidelines must be
Compliance Requirements Relating to Crew
- Crew members are required to wear face
masks at all times, except when conducting a
safety briefing and during an emergency.
- Crew members shall upon arrival in South
Africa be subjected to health protocols as
contemplated for in Health Directions.
- An Operator must ensure the following risk
mitigation measures for crew members:
(a) conduct risk assessments to ensure that
crew members are fit and proper before
they undertake their travel duties and
mitigate the risk of COVID-19 crew
(b) ensure that crew members are protected
whilst on duty.
International Schedule and Charter Flights
International scheduled and Charter flights
carrying passengers are allowed through the
- OR Tambo International Airport;
- King Shaka International Airport; and
- Cape Town International Airport.
International Outbound Flights
With regard to international outbound flights the
- subject to the travel requirements of a
country of destination, a passenger must
provide to the Operator a negative PCR test
certificate or a valid COVID-19 negative test
certificate from an accredited laboratory and
- an Operator is responsible to ensure that
p a s s e n g e r s c o m p l y w i t h C O V I D – 1 9
requirements of the country of destination.
A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) has been issued
that informs pilots who are planning their flights
to note and comply with South Africa’s legal
requirements in line with Alert Level 1.
His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa
reminded us that the virus is still with us; and
therefore, any careless actions from our side will
determine if we remain on Alert Level 1 for
longer or not.
We are exercising extra caution as most
countries who have previously witnessed a drop
in the number of infections suffer what health
experts call a second wave.
We are encouraged by the use of technology
that in our airports, in the form of Smart Security
checkpoint. This technology digitises the
security check process, speeds up passenger
progress through security, and further enhance
security using state-of-the-art scanners.
This technology is impressive, reduces human
contact and we have been verily advised that
this is one of the ways of reducing the spread of
The utilization of this technology ensures that
there is no physical pat-downs of passengers,
who often set off security alarms because the
scanning technology is much better at detecting
objects that should not be carried on or around
For the sake of our economy and the lives of all
South Africans as well as those citizens who do
business with our country, we urge you to
cooperate with all civil aviation operators as they
make the best out of a very difficult situation.
The responsibility is upon each and everyone of
us using the civil aviation network to ensure that
we adhere to the set standards issued by
several government departments such as the
Department of Health, the Department of
Transport, the Department of Employment and
Labour and their respective agencies.
CROSS-BORDER ROAD TRANSPORT
Cross-Border Road Passengers from all
countries in the continent is permitted and
travelers can only enter through permitted land
ports determined by Minister of Home Affairs
and would be subjected to all health protocols
determined by Minister of Health.
As of October 01, 2020 all commercial sea ports
are operational.Signing on crew must produce a
negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (“PCR”)
test certificate or a valid certificate of COVID-19
negative test results,obtained not more than
72hours before the date of travel,from an
acredited laboratory and in line with World
Health Organization requirements at the first
SouthAfrican Port of Entry.
Cruise ships are prohibited from calling at any of
the South African sea ports,except for the
disembarkation of returning-
(a) South African crew;
(b) South African citizens;or
(c)holders of South African permanent residence
Passenger ships are allowed to call at any
South African sea port only
for the following purposes:
(a) Disembarking returning South African
citizens and holders of South African
permanent residence permits;
(b) Replenishing fuel,stores and provisions;
(c) medical evacuation; and
(d) search and rescue.
Alert leve 1 brings no changes for public
transport, however we are closely monitoring
the situation and the following conditions are still
-Mini-buses, midi-buses and buses are only
permitted to carry a maximum of 70% of their
licensed passenger carrying capacity when
undertaking long distance travel. Long distance
is defined as any distance in excess of 200km
irrespective of whether it crosses Provincial
boundaries or not.
-Short-distance public transport of 200km or
less, for buses, mini-buses, midi-buses, ehailing services, metered taxis, shuttle service,
chauffer driven vehicles and scholar transport
vehicles is permitted to carry 100% of their
maximum license passenger capacity.
As we continue to confront this pandemic, we
should remain vigilant and follow all necessary
health protocols. Indeed, we have walked a long
walk through this pandemic to easily let our
guard down; as such the words by one of our
great Statesman, Nelson Mandela are as
apposite as they were then and must resonate
with each and everyone of us. Madiba once
“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have
tried not to falter; I have made missteps along
the way. But I have discovered the secret that
after climbing a great hill, one only finds that
there are many more hills to climb. I have taken
a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the
glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on
the distance I have come. But I can only rest for
a moment, for with freedom come
responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long
walk is not ended”.
It has been a long and difficult 6 months since
the first declaration of Covid-19 disaster. We
have been through the rough seas and have hit
some turbulences during this period. Together
as a Nation, we have held hands and traversed
through this disaster. As we enter Alert level 1,
we dare not linger but must remain resilient,
cautious, adhere to health protocols and adjust
to the new normal as we simultaneously prepare
for the next normal.
I thank you… [END]