COVID-19 alert level 3 regulations allow for domestic air travel to resume under certain conditions, including the observation of health protocols to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
Airports which will reopen as flights resume include OR Tambo, Cape Town International, King Shaka, and Lanseria.
These locations have been overhauled to meet regulatory and health requirements, and include a number of major changes to the travel process as well as movement within the airport.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula visited OR Tambo airport on Wednesday 3 June to inspect the airport’s adherence to lockdown regulations.
“I am confident that our airports will play a central role in reigniting the economy, reconnecting our economic hubs, while strictly operating under these conditions,” Mbalula said.
Changes to operations
Mbalula announced a number of changes to airport operations which have been implemented to curb the spread of the virus.
These include restrictions on who is allowed into the terminal buildings, how far travellers are allowed to stand and sit from one another, and how many can be loaded onto terminal buses.
Under level 3 regulations, only passengers are allowed inside the airport terminal buildings.
Temperature screening is conducted at terminal building entrances before passengers are allowed entry, and passengers without facemasks will not be given access to terminal buildings.
Physical distancing will be enforced throughout the airport and sectional boarding will be implemented to avoid unnecessary contact within the aircraft.
Inside the aircraft, full capacity will be allowed, Mbalula said, adding that the risk of COVID-19 infection onboard a commercial passenger airliner is lower than in many other confined spaces.
“All our commercial aircraft are fitted with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters,” he said.
Catering and magazines will not be allowed in the cabin, and the last rows of the aircraft will be reserved for isolation, in the case that a passenger is suspected of having the virus and must be separated from the other travellers.
Mbalula shared images and videos of the new measures implemented at OR Tambo on social media, demonstrating the extent of the changes effected across the country.