South African airlines brace, as pandemic surge forces lockdown


A number of South Africa-based airlines have announced a cease of operations from July 5, 2021, following the state-wide announcement of an adjusted alert level 4 lockdown in South Africa. 

Announced by the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa during a national address on June 27, 2021, the alert level 4 lockdown went into effect from June 28, 2021.

International air travel is restricted to a select group of airports which among them include Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport and Cape Town International Airport. However, interprovincial leisure travel in and out of the Gauteng province is now prohibited. According to the government press statement, long-haul flight departures and landings at the authorized airports are permitted during the hours of curfew. 

All international travelers arriving at the airports will be required to provide a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 test, issued no more than 72 hours before the date of travel.

Among the airlines that have taken action to cease flights include South African start-up airline Lift and Comair, a British Airways and operator.

“Flights will be suspended from July 5,” said Comair CEO Glenn Orsmond in support of the lockdown following the recent infection surge which has particularly affected the Gauteng area.  

According to Orsmond, Comair will recommence services from July 30 in line with COVID-19 regulations. Comair’s Kulula customers with a valid ticket booked until July 29, 2021, will be permitted to use their tickets within a 12 month period from the recommencement of travel with no additional penalties 

Lift announced on their website the cancellation of all flights on their Johannesburg – Cape Town route from July 5 to July 31.  According to the airline, the route will resume from August 1, 2021, however bookings will remain open for flights departing on that day.

Lift announced that all customers holding valid tickets up to and including July 4, 2021, will be able to cancel their bookings with no penalty fees.

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