After a lengthy period without direct scheduled flights between South Africa and the United Kingdom, Virgin Atlantic Airlines is set to resume services to Johannesburg in the next few weeks.
The discovery of the 501y.v2 variant in South Africa in December last year resulted in the UK government imposing a travel ban on South Africa. All airlines operating flights between the two countries were obligated to suspend their services as a result of the directive issued by the UK government.
UK’S FLIGHT BAN
The flight ban which has already been in place for an extended period of 6 months, saw both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic having to continuously announce extensions to the expected restart dates of their South African flight schedules.
While British Airways has been selling seats on its SA flights for some time already, without clarity on whether these flights will operate, Virgin Atlantic has now confirmed that it will resume scheduled passenger flights between South Africa and the UK this month.
VIRGIN ATLANTIC RESTARTS
TravelNews reports that Virgin Atlantic will operate three flights a week between London Heathrow and Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport from 24 June. Virgin Atlantic told Travelnews that its schedule will be published shortly, with the first passenger flight from Johannesburg scheduled to operate on June 26.
QUARANTINE REQUIREMENT REMAINS
Despite the movement of passengers between South and Africa and the United Kingdom being permitted, the mandatory 10-day pre-booked hotel quarantine for all passengers arriving from South Africa is still in force.
This requirement is still in place as South Africa and most countries in the Southern African region are still listed on the UK’s red-list.
WHO MAY TRAVEL TO THE UK ?
Virgin’s head for Middle East, Africa and India, Liezl Gericke said Virgin Atlantic was delighted to be operating flights to South Africa once again. She told Travelnews that South African tourists could still not visit the UK at this time. Only South Africans with long-term visas will be permitted on these flights.
“Only those repositioning and holding study, work or residence permits may enter the UK from SA,” Gericke told Travelnews.