Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has welcomed the announcement by the Minister of Transport that three airports serving provincial centres will be opened for business travel from 1 July 2020.

The airports owned and operated by ACSA that will be open for business travel from Wednesday are those that serve Port Elizabeth, Upington and Bloemfontein.

Spokesperson for ACSA, Gopolang Peme, says managers and staff of the airports have been preparing and will have in place all the required measures before 1 July. “Airport management and staff have been getting ready for this moment for a few weeks now. They have implemented the extensive physical measures that are required by the regulations. Airport staff have been trained and are ready to activate the new procedures,” says Peme.

He says ACSA is acutely aware of the role that regional airports play in connecting the economy across provinces as well as the direct and indirect contribution that airports make to the GDP of their respective provinces. “We are therefore very much looking forward to playing our role in supporting the national efforts to reconnect, recover and rebuild economic activity.”

ACSA reopened its three largest airports from Monday, 1 June for business passengers. Peme says that the first month of the new procedures has worked well at OR Tambo International, Cape Town International and King Shaka International airports. “We have made some adjustments along the way, but we are pleased with the way things are working and especially with the positive response of passengers so far.”

Peme appealed to passengers to familiarise themselves with the new procedures.

Arriving at the airport

  • Passengers must use drop-and-go facilities or public transport as only passengers will be allowed into the terminal.
  • Limited parkade options will be available. These are signposted at each airport.
  • Meeters and greeters will not be allowed in the terminal building.

Airport entrances and access control

  • A number of access points have been closed at each airport. Please visit the ACSA website for details on which access points and terminal entrance points should be used.
  • Access to terminal buildings will therefore be restricted.
  • Physical distancing rules will apply at the terminal entrance.
  • Masks are compulsory from entry to the airport all the way through a flight and out of the destination airport.
  • Port Health will conduct screening checks at entrances.
  • Passengers must produce their business travel permission letters at the entrance.
  • It is the passenger’s responsibility to ensure that they have the necessary permission letter before they book a flight.

 Check-in process

  • Passengers are encouraged to check in online before going to the airport.
  • Online check in can also be done at the self-service screens in the terminal building.
  • A limited number of check-in counters will be open and physical distancing rules will apply in these queues.
  • Using a check-in counter will take longer.

Security checkpoint process

  • Passengers will scan their own paper-based or mobile device-based boarding pass to the scanner at the security checkpoint.
  • Passengers should remove any metal and electronic items from their person before entering the security queue. This includes mobile devices, watches, jewellery, wallets, keys and so on.
  • These items must be placed in the tray at the security scanner.
  • This process will minimise the need for security officers to conduct physical pat downs at the checkpoint.

Boarding the aircraft

  • Physical distancing rules apply for queues to board an aircraft.
  • Passengers must scan their own boarding pass at the boarding gate.
  • Boarding will be done in a controlled manner with passengers travelling in the rear seats of the aircraft boarding first. Passengers with tickets for Row A, for example, will board last.
  • Masks must be worn for the duration of the flight.

Disembarking from an aircraft

  • Masks must continue to be used when disembarking and moving towards the baggage carousels.
  • Physical distancing rules will apply at the baggage carousels.
  • Crowding close to the baggage carousels will not be permitted.

ACSA developed these protocols through engagements with Airports Council International and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The measures being implemented at South African airports conform to the standards recently set out by these organisations.