(Photo by James D. Morgan / Getty Images)
- Emirates will resume flights from Dubai to Johannesburg on Wednesday after sudden cancellations left travelers stranded.
- The airline will operate four weekly flights from Dubai to Johannesburg throughout December, but will not be re-establishing routes to Cape Town or Durban for the time being.
- It will also not carry passengers outside of South Africa due to the UAE’s ongoing travel ban.
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Emirates will resume passenger flights from Dubai to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Wednesday after temporarily suspending service due to sudden travel restrictions.
South Africa’s discovery of the highly mutated variant of Covid-19, Omicron, has led to a wave of flight cancellations and overseas travel bans. Travelers who need to leave or return to South Africa face uncertainty as airlines respond to swift and sweeping restrictions imposed by their host countries.
Restrictions on travelers from South Africa began to increase on Friday, due to the UK’s decision to suspend flights between the two countries and re-enforce its mandatory quarantine requirement.
Until monday, nearly 40 countries had imposed restrictions on travelers arriving from South Africa, with more than 10 international airlines serving ground flights on major routes.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has suspended flights from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini. The country’s national carrier has confirmed that the Dubai Covid-19 Command and Control Center (CCC) has imposed a travel ban barring entry to all passengers who have been in or logged in through those countries during the Last 14 days.
The abrupt suspension of services, and the lack of clarity regarding the resumption of flights, stranded anxious passengers in both countries.
Emirates said on Tuesday it would resume passenger flights to South Africa on Wednesday.
“From December 1 to 31, Emirates will operate passenger flights 4 times a week to Johannesburg. Due to current travel restrictions, we will not be carrying passengers from Johannesburg ”, the airline said in a statement on its website.
Emirates passenger operations to and from Durban and Cape Town will remain suspended “until further notice”.
Other international airlines that plan to resume services to South Africa on Wednesday include British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. While these flights, operating at a reduced frequency, will facilitate repatriation of travelers, seats on planes departing from South Africa will only be occupied by returning British or Irish nationals, or travelers with residence rights. UK.
Emirates, whose flights from Johannesburg do not carry any passengers, has yet to detail its repatriation efforts. This one-way service is of little use to travelers who wish to return to Dubai. Emirates’ online booking platform does not show any available flights between Johannesburg and Dubai.
(Compiled by Luke Daniel)