Getting in and out of South Africa’s largest airport right now: here’s what you need to know

Amid growing passenger numbers, OR Tambo International Airport has on Wednesday (21 October) reopened the open-air Piazza parking area for pick-ups by taxis, e-hailing services and public transport vehicles.

Airport spokesperson Samukelo Khambule said the change will accommodate increasing passenger volumes at the airport. The airport will also make more parking bays available from 1 November when Level 1 of Parkade 1 is reopened.

“While growth in passengers is steady, we are still in the early stages of recovery. But as more people start to reconnect we are able to continue the process of adapting the arrangements put in place when the lockdown was first eased,” said Khambule.

The airport has already reopened the upper roadway for passenger drop-offs. The opening of the Piazza area will be accompanied by the reopening of selected entrances on the ground level of the terminal buildings, it said.

Access to terminal buildings remains restricted to passengers in possession of a physical or electronic ticket.

The latest changes mean that Level 2 of Parkade 2 South will be only for pick-ups by private vehicles. The first 30 minutes in Parkade 2 South is free.

On Level 2, high tariffs for parking reflect the need to keep vehicles moving through the area. Parking on Levels 3 and 4 is considerably cheaper. The long-term parkade is also open where rates average out at R65 a day after four days.

Khambule said Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department will continue to control access to the upper roadway. Driver-only vehicles are not allowed onto the upper roadway.

High-risk countries

The Department of Home Affairs this week reviewed the list of high-risk countries restricted from entering South Africa under level 1 lockdown rules.

The department said that people from high-risk countries who can enter the country fall in the following categories:

  • Business travellers,
  • Holders of critical skills visas,
  • Investors
  • People on international mission in sports, arts, culture and science.

“In addition, we recognise that there are a number of regular visitors from mainly European countries that have been accustomed to long periods of visitation to our country during our summer season when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of them own properties in the country,” it said.

“We appreciate the significant economic contribution that they make through their activities in the country. To this end, we will also allow visitors, in whichever category, who are coming to stay for a three months period or more subject to Covid-19 protocols.”

The department said that travellers who need to apply must direct email requests to this email address ([email protected]) supported by:

  • A copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa;
  • Proof of business activities to be undertaken in the Republic;
  • Proof of travel itinerary; and
  • Proof of address or accommodation in the Republic.

In the first two weeks that the email address had been in operation, 4,701 applications were received, mostly from investors in agriculture, manufacturing, mining and tourism. Of these applications, 3,113 have been approved.

The department also published its updated list of high-risk countries based on its updated model.

Leisure travellers from high-risk countries will not be permitted. The exception will be business travellers with scarce and critical skills including diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and, events will undergo the same health protocol screenings.

The previous list of high-risk destination had 60 countries. The latest update carries only 22 with Germany the most notable addition.

Emirates, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates, has entered into an agreement with regional airline Airlink as part of a major expansion in South Africa.

Emirates’ agreement with Airlink will provide customers enhanced connectivity via Johannesburg and Cape Town to more than 25 domestic destinations in South Africa and more than 20 regional destinations in Southern Africa.

Read: Uber and Bolt warn over pricing rules planned for South Africa

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Getting in and out of South Africa’s largest airport right now: here’s what you need to know