The outbreak of COVID-19 has greatly affected both the international and domestic travel sectors, forcing most travellers to remain in the country they were in before the lockdown measures were enforced.

On 28 May 2020, the South African government announced that travel will resume under strict measures. Domestic travel will only be allowed for business purposes and international travel will only be limited for repatriation purposes. It is yet to be confirmed which airlines will be operating.

South African Airways (SAA) has published a repatriation flight program. Travellers will have to register directly with SAA and will have to fulfil the set requirements to obtain approval for their travel from the Department of Home Affairs and their destination country.

SAA has received approvals and confirmation to operate flights to and from the following destinations:

  • Washington to Johannesburg on 01 June 2020.
  • Johannesburg to Dubai on 06 June 2020.
  • Johannesburg to Brisbane on 06 June 2020
  • Bahrain to Johannesburg on 07 June 2020.
  • Dubai to Johannesburg on 08 June 2020.
  • Brisbane to Johannesburg on 09 of June 2020.

The following International airlines have updated their flight schedules:

  • American Airlines

American Airlines has updated some of their Europe flight schedules to resume on 05 June 2020, with Latin America flight routes resuming on 04 June 2020 and the remainder on 07 July 2020.

  • British Airways

British Airways is also planning to resume with restricted flight schedules allowing for certain booking classes. Most flights are scheduled to operate once or twice a day, weekly or on alternating days. This includes scheduled daily flights from London Heathrow to Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Singapore, and JFK.

  • Cathay Pacific

Between 21 June and 30 June 2020 Cathay Pacific and its regional division Cathay Dragon aim to raise their flying capacity from 3% to 5%. Between 21 June and 30 June 2020. Hong Kong’s flag carrier stated it will fly five weekly flights to London (Heathrow), Los Angeles, Vancouver, Sydney; three weekly flights to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, San Francisco, Melbourne, Mumbai and Delhi and regular flights to Tokyo (Narita), Osaka, Seoul, Taipei, Manila, Bangkok, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore.

  • Emirates

Emirates Airline is operating restricted passenger flights to carry passengers back to the UAE from selected destinations as stated in a 09 May 2020 travel update. Passengers traveling from destinations like Frankfurt and London Heathrow will be able to fly to Dubai with some restrictions, like prior flight booking approval from the Federal Identity and Citizenship Authority (ICA) via the UAE Twajudi Resident Service.

  • Etihad

With their network under continuous review, Etihad is currently operating flights to and from Abu Dhabi with the intention to gradually return to a fuller schedule once circumstances allow. Updated flight schedules can be found on the IATA Travel Centre

  • KLM

The airline is operating a limited schedule intended to connect with as many flights as possible in the intercontinental network. Routes will be reopened gradually, however, they may alter regularly depending on the measures that will be taken at the destinations by the authorities.

  • Lufthansa Group

As of the beginning of June, the Lufthansa Group has announced a service expansion with a total of 106 destinations through its Lufthansa, Eurowings and Swiss subsidiaries. There are currently multiple flight links within Europe and to/from the Americas, Asia & Africa under a special flight plan, which can be accessed on their online flight timetable.

  • Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways will expand operations to a total of 80 destinations in line with the planned relaxation of entry restrictions worldwide by the end of June. The airline is currently flying to just over 30 destinations and plans to increase this to 52 destinations in a “phased reconstruction” of its network

South African citizens with valid work visas are permitted to travel. For more information call 011 467 0810 or send an email to, our team of dedicated specialists will be ready to assist you to obtain the necessary permission to travel.


  1. American Airlines Newsroom 2020, American Airlines Announces Summer Schedule Changes to Match Reduced Customer Demand Related to COVID-19, American Airlines Newsroom.
  2. Asaf S 2020, Airlines planning to resume some flights in June, Business Traveller.
  3. Asaf S 2020, Cathay Pacific to increase international flights in late June, Business Traveller.
  4. 2020, Coronavirus travel and service updates,
  5. 2020, coronavirus Update Centre,
  6. 2020, COVID-19 Travel updates,
  7. Lavers G 2020, Emirates now offering flights back to Dubai with restrictions, Business Traveller.
  8. 2020, current flight information,
  9. South African Airways 2020, Repatriation Registration,


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