November 10, 2020: The global Covid-19 pandemic has heavily impacted travel industries across the world. Despite South Africa’s borders reopening on October 1, many airlines are struggling with low demand in what is usually peak travel season for the country, as reported by Getaway.

Restrictive international travel regulations have made it difficult for travellers to explore the world, leading to many aircrafts operating with far fewer passengers.

As of October 19, the updated list features 22 countries on the red list, down from the previous 60.

Some airlines have been forced to cancel flights altogether, or combine flights to make flying economically viable.

Speaking to Tourism Update, chairperson of the Board of Airline Representatives South Africa (BARSA) Carla da Silva said that airlines are reporting dismal load factors to and from South Africa, at an average of 20 to 40 percent.

“As you can imagine, this is a very difficult time for airlines as they try to navigate the correct balance between supply and demand. Airlines usually rely on all sectors of the market to fill their aircraft but the current regulations allow only business travellers to enter South Africa if originating from high-risk countries,” she said.

BARSA also announced during an address to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Tourism that some airlines are threatening to leave South Africa in favour of neighbouring countries as new hubs.

“The biggest risk for South Africa is losing its strategic hub status, as the country currently plays the role of the gateway to Africa and Southern African Development Community countries,” said BARSA.

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