Covid-19: Chartered flight denied entry into South Africa

The flight was not cleared by the Department of Transport, as is required in terms of the current protocols of the country’s 21-day lockdown.

A passenger that arrived in a private charter aircraft at OR Tambo International Airport has not been allowed to disembark, the Ministry of Transport said in a statement on 2 April.

“At approximately 12.30pm on Wednesday (1 April), a private charter aircraft landed at OR Tambo International Airport from Harare, Zimbabwe, with one passenger on board,” said the ministry.

The flight was not cleared by the Department of Transport, as is required in terms of the current protocols of the country’s 21-day lockdown.

“The passenger and the crew were held at the airport whilst the airport sought guidance on how to handle the flight. Subsequently, a decision was made that the passenger, who is an Italian national holding a South African passport, would not be allowed to enter the country.”

The passenger initially refused to leave, but with the intervention of the South African Police Service, the flight left South African airspace at 7.50pm, returning to Harare.

Minister Fikile Mbalula has called for a full investigation into the incident, and consequence management should any wrongdoing be found to have taken place. “The Department of Transport, working closely with its aviation entities, is reviewing the applicable protocols to ensure that only flights with necessary approval are allowed to enter the South African airspace.

“This requires seamless coordination between the department, the Air Traffic Navigation Services and the Airports Company South Africa.”

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