Emirates on Sunday canceled its maiden return flight to Durban.
It was a case of crossed wires in South Africa over the weekend as uncertainty of new quarantine and self-isolation guidelines caused Emirates to cancel a flight to Durban. Speculations online suggest that, the new South African Government regulations lead to the canceled flight, and now requires all airline crews to self-isolate upon arrival.
This caused Emirates to ax its recently reinstated services to South Africa. The reports said the new South African Government regulation now saw airline crews treated like normal passengers.
According to a clarification issued by the South African-based eNCA news website late on Sunday, it’s all a bit of a misunderstanding. The problem is stated to be “confusion” about the screening protocols for airline crews.
“I think the entire industry is getting accustomed to the regulations and in this particular case and regulation is how the crew gets screened, and the regulations around that and obviously Emirates was supposed to fly into Durban today, and there were challenges in how they would comply to that regulation,” Mr Delomoney told eNCA.
There are now hasty negotiations underway to ensure this doesn’t happen again and Emirates recently stated that flights will stay reinstated.
While South Africa is allowing international travelers in, it isn’t carte blanche. There are strict rules and regulations in place. Emirates has a comprehensive summary of entry requirements for all its destinations on its website. Emirates says that from October 1, international travel is allowed into South Africa from countries with a low rate of COVID-19 infection and transmission.
All arriving passengers must have a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 test, obtained not more than 72 hours before travel. The South African Government published a list of high-risk countries on September 30, and there are around 60 nations listed.
Reportedly, the South African Government is keen for Emirates and other foreign carriers to stick around. The airlines are talking with the South African Government to get “clarity” around the issue. That clarity is likely to come quite soon, and flights look set to continue.