Emirates is the latest airline to extend its suspension of flights to and from South Africa, adding to an already long list of disrupted international routes. But South Africans do still have options when looking to book flights abroad.
The United Arab Emirates’ flag carrier announced an initial ten-day suspension of flights from South Africa in mid-January. This has since been extended, owing to Dubai’s ongoing restrictions barring South African visitors, until at least 28 February 2021.
Emirates isn’t the only airline which has extended its suspension of South African flights. British Airways, while still operating domestically under the local Comair, has cancelled its international flights to and from South Africa until 15 April. This coincides with an extended travel ban enforced by the UK following increased panic around a more infectious Covid-19 variant, 501Y.V2, which was first discovered in South Africa.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is still holding all SA flights, with no solid date of reinstatement.
Other airlines which suspended passenger flights to and from South Africa during the early stages of the pandemic – and have yet to reinstate these routes – include Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Virgin Atlantic, and Qantas.
These suspensions do not include the transport of cargo.
This leaves South Africans, who are looking to travel abroad for business or pleasure, with limited options. Travel bans imposed by dozens of countries, most notably in Europe, add further limitations to the scope of international travel for South Africans.
There are, however, a handful of international airlines which continue to operate flights to and from South Africa.