Three More South African Airports Set To Open

Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, announced last week that the airports serving East London, George and Kimberley had met the requirements of the SA Civil Aviation Authority and would be able to open for business travel from 21 July 2020.

Management and staff at three further airports that will reopen for business travel from tomorrow, 21 July, are fully prepared and looking forward to contributing to re-building economic activity in their respective regions. Senzeni Ndebele, spokesperson for Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), says that reconnecting regional centres through air links is an essential element of reigniting local economies.

Ndebele said that suitable health screening resources had been allocated by the provincial governments of Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape. “These resources are an essential required element of the health protocols and procedures at airports. Other airports that opened earlier already had Port Health resources in place by virtue of their international status. We are therefore most appreciative of the efforts of the three provincial governments in identifying and allocating qualified people who can perform the screening role which is a critical aspect of ensuring that air travel is safe,” she said.

“The support of the provincial governments is all the more appreciated at a time such as this when healthcare resources across the country are stretched.” She said that managers and staff at the three airports have already implemented the required physical measures and training to ensure that they can reopen quickly.

All protocols and processes applied when other airports reopened from the beginning of June will also be in place at the airports serving East London, George and Kimberley.

However, Ndebele advised business travellers to check with airlines for available flights.

“Our experience of the past several weeks is that airlines will not necessarily commence with flights on the first day that airports are officially open again. Business passengers needing to travel to and from these centres should monitor the airline websites for flight availability,” she said.

She advised passengers to give themselves enough time to get through the required protocols as well as to adapt to new arrangements in terms of parking and terminal access points. Ndebele emphasised that the onus is on the passenger to ensure that business travel documentation is in order before booking a flight.

“We have also noticed at other airports that passengers are not completing the required health screening questionnaire before arriving at the airport. This causes congestion at terminal access points, so we appeal to passengers to ensure that the form is completed before getting to the airport.”

The health questionnaire is posted on airline web sites and may also be found at:


Airport protocols and procedures

Arriving at the airport

  • Passengers must use drop-and-go facilities or public transport. 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

  • Access to terminal buildings will 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.
  • Health screening of all passengers and staff will be conducted 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 should check in online before going to the airport.
  • Online check in can be done at the screens in the terminal building.
  • A limited number of check-in counters will be open. Physical distancing rules will apply in 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 do 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.