SAA Operates Repatriation Flight To Return Canadian Citizens Home

South African Airways (SAA) collaborated with the Government of Canada through the High Commission of Canada in South Africa to assist Canadians who were stranded in South Africa to return home, after the lockdown was implemented in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus, which resulted in travel restrictions.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents returned home from South Africa on a repatriation flight, which departed on Friday, 10 April 2020 at 16h00 (SA time). The flight transported 313 Canadians from Johannesburg and Cape Town to London for onward connections to Canada.

SAA has already repatriated thousands of German citizens, Brazilians citizens and Belgian nationals to their respective home countries over the past two weeks. These repatriation flights require among other things, the consideration, approval and support of the South African government to implement. “We are pleased to assist and will continue to work with foreign governments through their respective embassies and high commissions in the repatriation of their nationals to re-join their families to share comfort, support and strength during these trying times,” said SAA acting General Manager for Operations, Tebogo Tsimane.

Acting High Commissioner of Canada to South Africa, Mr Kim Butler, noted, “We know how important it is to be home in these challenging times. We are very happy to be working with SAA and the Government of South Africa to organise this special flight that will allow many Canadians to make their way home.”

SAA operated this special flight in collaboration with the Government of Canada, in line with the health and safety provisions contained in the South African travel regulations and other relevant provisions undertaken during the lockdown, as well as Transport Canada regulations. “SAA has taken all measures to ensure that the airport staff, cabin crew and flight deck crew were safe and protected by providing the appropriate training and protective clothing as approved by the Communicable Disease plan,” commented Tsimane.

Only Canadian nationals not showing symptoms of the coronavirus were allowed to travel on this flight. Screening protocols were conducted before the flight’s departure at the airport. Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are showing symptoms of the virus will be required to remain in South Africa and seek medical advice and treatment locally. Passengers with flu-like symptoms were also not allowed on these flights.

SAA thanks all its employees who have been requested and undertaken the task to prepare and serve on this flight.