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Air journey throughout lockdown: the South African traveller’s information

Image: Louis van Niekerk.

On June 29, 2020, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced the opening of civil aviation activities that were prohibited during South Africa’s three-month lockdown.

In March, all air travel was suspended after government announced a national state of disaster and implemented lockdown regulations limiting South Africans’ movement and activities with the purpose of limiting the spread of Covid-19.

Since May 30, 2020, domestic air travel has been allowed for business travel, as well as for essential travel. “Essential travel” refers to travel that is urgent and absolutely necessary, such as travelling for medical purposes, or for obtaining other crucial necessities without which one cannot safely go about living.

Those who travel by air are subjected to sanitisation and other measures to limit the spread of the virus. The arrival deadline for domestic passengers has been extended from one to two hours and limited in-flight catering is allowed.

Caxton Local Media answers some frequently asked questions.

– Is international air travel at all possible?

All international passenger flights are prohibited except flights authorised by the Minister of Transport. Contact may be established with the ministry via e-mail at [email protected]. In practice, South Africans have reported that the airlines they sought to travel with have been able to assist them in applying for the required permission.

– When may I travel domestically?

Business and essential travel are allowed. If you will move between provinces, legal experts generally advise that you have the correct permit with you.

Click here for all the available permits and usage guidelines.

The Minister of Transport has not yet made any directions available to regulate domestic passenger air travel for leisure purposes. Accordingly, this is not yet allowed.

– Which domestic airports are open?

OR Tambo, King Shaka, Cape Town, Lanseria, Bram Fischer, Kruger Mpumalanga, Port Elizabeth and Upington International Airports as well as Pietermaritzburg, Richardsbay and Skukuza Airports.

Image: Malebo Malemone and Louis van Niekerk. Contents provided by the South African Government.

If you seek to fly for any purpose that does not qualify as travelling, click on the link below for the latest regulations. Classes of flying activities that are now allowed, are listed here.


  • When I reach my destination, where may I overnight?

Under the new regulations hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, timeshare facilities, resorts and guest houses may operate. These entities are responsible for ensuring that they adhere to relevant regulations.

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