South African Airways suspended all operations except for its flight route to Cape Town until 31 May 2020.
“SAA will immediately suspend all regional and international operations until the end of May in response to a government travel ban aimed at stopping the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19),” it said.
This means that the only service SAA will operate going forward is the domestic flight route between Johannesburg and Cape Town.
SAA’s decision follows the gazetting of Regulations and the issuing of a Notice to Air Men (NOTAM), aimed at reducing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
There has also been a big drop in the demand for air travel due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“The suspension of flights follows the gazetting of Regulations and the issuing of a Notice to Air Men (NOTAM), an official government notice prohibiting the embarkation and disembarkation of crew and passengers from SAA’s three international destinations,” SAA said in a statement.
“In support of efforts by the government in dealing with this pandemic, and in the best interests of our crew, passengers and the public, we have decided to suspend all international and regional flights until 31 May 2020.”
“It is a responsibility of all of us and not just the government to curb further transmission of the virus. Especially because we operate in the high-risk regions, ” said SAA Acting chief executive officer Zuks Ramasia.
Shortly after a travel ban was announced to help combat the COVID-19 coronavirus, SAA said it would offer customers one free change in reservations on selected international routes before 30 September 2020.
SAA will allow one free change of booking for tickets issued between 13 March to 30 April 2020 for travel on these selected routes and without penalty or change fees.
The routes applicable include those between Johannesburg and New York, Washington DC, Frankfurt, Munich and London.
The COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread in South Africa, with the number of confirmed cases rising to 202 on Friday 20 March.