Here’s how domestic flights could work under level 3 lockdown

The Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) is preparing for the resumption of some domestic flights under the country’s new level 3 lockdown.

Presenting to parliament’s portfolio committee on Transport on Monday (18 May), Acsa proposed that airlines effectively run at 20% – 25% of the domestic travel volume, and be limited to certain times of the day.

Under the proposals, prioritisation would be given to the ‘golden triangle’ of OR Tambo International, Cape Town International and King Shaka International, with flights initially running between 06h00 to 09h00 and 15h00 to 18h00.

Provision would also have to be made for inter-provincial road transport routes which are considered as feeders to the three main airports, it said.

Other factors that would have to be considered for domestic flights under level 3 of the lockdown include:

  • Mandatory screening and test certificates in coordination with health authorities;
  • Consideration of compulsory baggage sanitisation measures for both carry-on and checked-in luggage;
  • SAPS and external security service providers to continue operating;
  • Some retail services allowed – subject to prioritisation of services required;
  • Allowance of some auxiliary support services such as parking, car rental, public transport (including Gautrain)  and airport hotels;
  • Strict social distancing measures within the airport and prior to boarding. Airlines will have to implement their own distancing and hygiene measures for their respective flights.

Acsa said it has put together detailed airport recovery plans informed by Airport Council International (ACI) guidelines and aligned with government alert level.

It added that these plans are based on ongoing consultations with the aviation industry and that their objective to assist airports resume operations once lockdown levels are announced by the government.

“Migrating between the different alert levels is independent, but does mean scaling up or down operations from one level to the other,” it said.

“All relevant standard operating procedures in line with the implementation of plans will be subject to approval by the Civil Aviation Authority as required.”

Read: South Africa doesn’t have enough black pilots and cabin crew: lawmakers

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Here’s how domestic flights could work under level 3 lockdown