Emirates plans the return to South Africa & 4 more African countries
Emirates is set to resume flights to South Africa, as well as Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. The route resumptions will come as soon as last Saturday (yesterday). These flights had been suspended due to fears over COVID-19. Many argued that the ban should’ve already been dropped, so the change will likely be a welcome one.
When the Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa, many countries and airlines panicked, leading to large-scale flight cancelations and strict travel bans. As Omicron has become the dominant variant in many countries, such restrictions have been relaxed. Now Emirates is following suit.
Seven returning routes
Seven routes will be resuming to the south of Africa over the next week. The first of these will take to the skies on Saturday (January 29th). On this day, Emirates will resume flights to Johannesburg (South Africa) and Nairobi (Kenya).
On Sunday (January 30th), three more routes will be resumed. These are,
Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) Harare (Zimbabwe)
Flights to Ethiopia will operate daily, and Tanzania will see five flights a week. Zimbabwe will see six weekly flights. Interestingly, they will run via Lusaka (Zambia) rather than direct from Dubai. The Johannesburg service will operate daily but will jump to twice daily on February 1st. Emirates will also start daily flights to Durban and Cape Town on February 1st, though they will hope their 777 doesn’t meet the same fate as one of British Airways’ in Cape Town.
A welcome change?
The reactivation of these routes will almost certainly be welcome by many passengers who have missed them. Ten days ago, the airline revealed that it would be resuming flights to Ghana, Guinea, Angola, Ivory Coast, and Uganda. At the time, many questioned why countries such as South Africa remained on the list when the COVID-19 situation had become worse in countries that weren’t subject to a flight suspension.
What restrictions will still apply?
While flights will resume, Emirates isn’t opening the floodgates to unencumbered travel. Passengers will still need to meet COVID-19 requirements that may be stricter than elsewhere on the network.
All passengers flying with a final destination of Dubai will need to hold a negative PCR test with a QR code on the test certificate. This certificate must come from an approved facility, with the test-taking place within 48 hours of travel. This will allow passengers to board their flight, but there is still one more step before they’re free to roam the streets of Dubai. They will need to take a PCR test on arrival, obligated to self-quarantine until the result is received.
Are you happy to see Emirates returning to South Africa? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!