Airlines want to pull out of SA due to travel restrictions

Posted by Anita Froneman on 29 October 2020

A number of airlines have voiced their concerns around travel restrictions in South Africa and have threatened to use neighbouring countries as their new hubs instead. This is according to BARSA (the Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa) who addressed The Portfolio Committee on Tourism on October 27.

‘The biggest risk for South Africa is losing its strategic hub status, as it currently plays the role of the gateway to Africa and Southern African Development Community countries,’ BARSA said.

The body did not mention which airlines this was.

Currently, there are 22 countries banned from entering South Africa for leisure travel.

Some airlines threaten to leave South Africa due to travel restrictions

South Africa is currently a major travel hub, but some airlines have threatened to take their business to neighbouring countries.

‘Cargo flights are not enough to sustain the routes and the phasing in of red-listed countries for leisure tourists is eagerly awaited, as leisure tourism is an economic enabler in the tourism sector.’

BARSA represents international and African airlines, airport operators and other stakeholders in the aviation industry, and works closely with OR Tambo International, King Shaka International and Cape Town International airports.

The organisation also emphasised the plight of international airlines that have reduced their capacity and frequency of flights to South Africa due to the uncertainty around the regulatory environment.

However, it said it is still hopeful that the industry can recover.

During the sitting, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism Supra Mahumapelo, acknowledged that tourism ‘affects everybody’.

‘When the country opens up fully again to international tourists, we must ensure that tourists visit the townships, villages and small dorpies, as that is where inequality and poverty exists the most,’ he said.

In other aviation news, South Africa’s Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni announced on Wednesday, October 28 that South African Airways (SAA) would receive a R10.5-billion bailout.

Government is seeking private shareholders to invest in the bankrupt airline. The controversial announcement has been defended by Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane who said: ‘Government is not going to want to hold on to South African Airways at all costs. If that means giving up the majority shareholding, that will happen.’

The airline has not turned a profit in over 10 years.

Also read:

Government ‘hopes’ to open borders to all countries by December



Picture: Unsplash


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