All day long today, November 26, there have been announcements that South Africans (and residents of six other Southern African countries) may no longer enter the UK and an ever-increasing number of EU countries on account of the new Covid-19 variant. Airlines are being stopped from carrying South African passengers, or, in some cases, may not, or have opted not to fly to South Africa at all.
KLM – no SA pax from SA
The Netherlands today, November 26, announced the banning of flights from the six countries, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, from noon on Friday, November 26, due to concerns about the variant.
KLM in Johannesburg was unable to comment at this stage.
During the previous ban on South Africans entering the Netherlands, KLM flights continued, carrying cargo and people on official business into SA. The flights were unable to carry non-EU passengers outbound to the Netherlands, and no South African tourists were permitted.
Passengers from Southern Africa, on flights that were still en route when the ban took effect today, would be tested at Schiphol and then quarantined.
NL times, the English news site in Netherlands has reported that Dutch people in South Africa have the right to come back, "but the double test obligation and the quarantine apply to them."
EK – no SA pax into or through Dubai
Emirates has notified the trade that in accordance with a directive issued by the Dubai COVID-19 Command and Control Centre (CCC), flights operating outbound from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia are suspended with effect from Monday November 29, until further notice.
It notes that its inbound flights to South Africa will remain operational for passengers.
Emirates says its COVID Policy will apply to impacted passengers, in respect of cancellations, refunds, etc.
SQ – no SA pax to Singapore
Singapore Airlines has notified the travel trade that due to regulatory requirements, from November 27, all travellers with recent travel history (including transit) from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini,
Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe within the prior 14 days, will not be allowed entry or transit into Singapore.
Only Singapore citizens and Singapore permanent residents will be allowed to enter Singapore. This also applies to travellers who had obtained prior entry approval into Singapore.
Travellers arriving in Singapore will be subject to a COVID-19 PCR test and 10-day quarantine at a dedicated facility upon arrival in Singapore.
SQ says affected passengers will be progressively notified that their bookings have been cancelled either via email or SMS.
The airline says passengers are covered by its refund and rebooking policy and can retain the unused portion of their ticket for rebooking or they may request a refund.
BA – all flights suspended
British Airways has announced the suspension of all its flights between South Africa and the UK, while it awaits “further information”.
The airline says the BA Travel Trade line will be open this Saturday, November 27 and Sunday 28, from 10h00-14h00 on +27 10 344 0127 followed by the agent’s unique PIN.
Effective Monday November 29, BA will also provide an email contact: email@example.com which will be serviced Monday to Friday: 08h30-17h00 local time. The turn-around response time will be 72 hours.
The airline directs agents requiring information to the UK Government here.
Virgin revises schedule
Virgin Atlantic Airways has also published a revised schedule, effective immediately, and will continue flying, carrying passengers according to the UK rules.
As of Monday November 29, VS will reduce frequencies to three per week.
In what it calls its “Ultra short-term programme post flight ban: 29NOV-12DEC” it will revert to its previous “red-list” operation.
VS449 will operate with passengers departing LHR at 22h30 and arriving JNB at 11h30 (the following day), on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
VS450 will operate with passengers departing JNB at 21h00 and arriving LHR at 06h25 (the following day), on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
There are full services over the weekend in both directions, says the airline, and only VS450 on November 26 has been cancelled.