Tag Archives: SAAviationNews

SAA Board And Management Congratulate Crew For Wuhan Repatriation

 The board and management of South African Airways (SAA) wishes to thank and congratulate the SAA crew who flew the chartered aircraft which repatriated citizens from Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated.

The crew and 112 South Africans were cleared to return to their families on Sunday after testing negative for the coronavirus in a second round of tests since their arrival from Wuhan, China.

Acting chairperson of the SAA board, Thandeka Mgoduso said that by agreeing to be in an SAA charter flight evacuating the nationals from Wuhan, the crew exemplified the spirit of Ubuntu and Thuma Mina, whose ethos is that the greatest responsibility for us all is humility, discipline, empathy, generosity and volunteerism.

“We thank The Almighty, the SAA crew, members of the South African National Defence Force and the medical team from the Department of Health, that none of the repatriated South Africans have tested positive for COVID-19 after they were quarantined for 14 days. We further thank the staff at The Ranch for courageously and caringly looking after the whole group that returned from Wuhan.

“Even though they may have had concerns and anxieties about the possibility of contracting the virus, it is clear that the call to national duty superseded all these anxieties. They adhered to the strict medical advice and protocols and took all the precautionary measures before, during and after the repatriation.

“Emerging from the quarantine period with no CODIV 19 infection, our crew can now play a vital role in conscientizing and advising their communities in South Africa, about the importance of observing the strict medical advice and the wisdom of adhering to the publicised protocols. They are now not only SAA ambassadors but also change agents for curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

“At SAA, we are grateful for and proud of their kindness, empathy and spirit of volunteerism and a strong sense of national responsibility. Their resilience and ability to rise to the challenge and withstand the rigours of the mission and the further quarantining after arriving in the country; are highly commendable. 

“Their willingness to give their time and talent is greatly appreciated. This behaviour and commitment to doing what is right, has set a good example for everyone in the country, as we all struggle with the early stages of the pandemic.

“Their compassion and willingness to heed the call for national duty must be an inspiration for us all. It must encourage all of us to want to be part of the solution in combating the scourge of the coronavirus. We congratulate and applaud them,” said Mgoduso.

Swiss Air Ambulance Challager 650 Lands at Cape Town International Airport

A lone Swiss Air Ambulance Challager 650 landed at Cape Town International Airport yesterday. The reason is not yet known but some sources indicating a possible medical evacuation of a Swiss National with possible COVID-19 symptoms!

Swiss Air-Rescue is a private, non-profit air rescue service that provides emergency medical assistance in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Rega was established on 27 April 1952 by Dr Rudolf Bucher, who believed the Swiss rescue organization needed a specialized air sub-secti.

The Challenger 650 is the updated version of the Challenger 605. The Challenger 650 features 2 additional executive seats to accommodate up to 12 passengers, upgraded engines offering a higher thrust rate to reduce takeoff field length, and larger appliances in the galley to assist with faster meal preparation.

Hundreds of Swiss travellers remain blocked abroad due to Covid-19 restrictions and cancelled flights. Travel operators and the foreign ministry are working to find ways to get them home. 

“We still have several hundred clients abroad who want to get back to Switzerland. We’re doing our best to find flights for them,” Bianca Gähweiler of Hotelplan Suisse told the Keystone-SDA news agency on Wednesday. 

The travel agent is scrambling to find solutions for clients in locations such as Morocco, South Africa, and Ukraine, where travel bans are in place for people from Switzerland. 

The foreign ministry, meanwhile, has called on Swiss travelling abroad to try to return as soon as possible due to the pandemic, but has reiterated that the costs of flights and other expenses must be borne by individuals. There is no legal basis for an organised repatriation. 

South African Airways scales down capacity due to travel disruptions and restrictions caused by Coronavirus

JOHANNESBURG. 18 March 2020. South African Airways (SAA) has scaled down capacity in response to the low demand for air travel. The effects of the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) have led to travel disruptions and restrictions across the world, leading to the grounding of aircraft, releasing employees, and cancelling flights for many airlines. SAA is not immune to these realities.

In the light of the substantial fall in demand for air travel, SAA has reviewed its flight schedule and has decided to operate flights only under circumstances where its load factors and other business considerations weigh in favour of scheduling flights. However, certain flights that have been negatively impacted more than others, are consequently cancelled.

“Notwithstanding the decline in demand, SAA continues to aggressively review its schedule to match capacity with demand to the extent possible. Where feasible, we will consider options that include cancelling and merging flights,” said SAA Chief Commercial Officer, Philip Saunders.

For the period 17 until 31 March 2020, SAA has cancelled a total of 162 flights. Of these, 38 are international and 124 are regional (destinations on the African continent) flights.

At the same time, the airline is continuing to provide a service on the domestic, regional and international networks for those passengers whose travel is essential and cannot be avoided. For the time being, the airline will continue to operate to and from destinations unaffected by travel restrictions aimed at combatting the spread of the Coronavirus.

“Our priority is to assist those travellers wishing to repatriate to their home countries to do so as quickly and efficiently as possible. Naturally, this includes South African citizens abroad wishing to return home,” Saunders explained. 

Subject to the conditions set out in the travel ban announced by government in South Africa, SAA will also facilitate the transfer of qualifying passengers to or from the destinations it flies to, which have been classified as high-risk areas.

Appreciating the impact of travel restrictions emanating from the outbreak of the Coronavirus, SAA has demonstrated its commitment towards looking after its customers by providing flexible rebooking options.

“We have updated our Customer Reservation Policy to help our passengers defer their travel plans where possible. To this end, we have offered our customers one free ticket change, in acknowledgement of travel restrictions that are not of our customers’ own making,” Saunders elaborated.

The Updated Reservation Policy now extends to the entire SAA route network.

Below is a summary of the amended travel policy, which is available on www.flysaa.com.

§  Must rebook / reissue ticket/s by 30 April 2020.

§  Complete travel by 28 February 2021.

§  Rebook same booking class with no additional collection and change fees waived.

§  Additional fare collection and taxes will apply to cases of seasonality change, but change fees will be waived.

§  If same booking class is not available, upgrade to lowest applicable booking class.  Additional fare collection and taxes will apply but change fees will be waived.

§  One (1) free change and ticket reissue permitted only.

§  Tickets to be endorsed “COVID-19 SA FLT/DATE”.

§  Applicable to all fare types.

§  Change of cabin will not be permitted.

§  Change of routing will not be permitted.

§  This travel advisory waives the 72-hour rule.

§  This policyis applicable to South African Airways flights only and does not apply to Mango, SA Express and Airlink, issued on SA (083) ticket stock and not on separate tickets of other airlines. This policywill apply when Mango, SA Express and Airlink forms part of the itinerary issued on SA (083) ticket stock.

§  No refunds are permitted as part of this advisory.

§  Other refunds are permitted according to the applicable fare rules.

§  Previous No-show passengers are not eligible for this waiver.

§  SAA reserves the right to withdraw or revise the terms and conditions without prior notice.

SAA regrets any inconvenience to our customers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and we encourage all customers to visit our website www.flysaa.com for further updates.

Customers are advised to contact either their travel agents, or for direct bookings, the  South African Airways Call Centre on +27 (0)11 978-1111 or 0861 606 606 or 0800 214 774 (South Africa only) or +27 (0)11 978-2888.

“We thank customers for their continued support and placing their trust in South African Airways with their travel plans,” concluded Saunders.

SAA will provide regular and timely updates through media statements and through our travel trade partners.

-Ends-

For media enquiries,  please contact:

SAA Spokesperson
Mr Tlali Tlali 
Email:               TlaliTlali@flysaa.com
Mobile:             +27 (0)82 333-3880
Office:               +27 (0)11 978-2298

Customers to contact:

South African Airways Call Centre on +27 (0)11 978-1111 or 0861 606 606 or 0800 214 774 (South Africa only) or +27 (0)11 978-2888.

General Enquiries:

Website: www.flysaa.com

Twitter (Primary): @flysaa – https://twitter.com/flysaa

Twitter (Customer Service): @flysaa_care – https://twitter.com/flysaa_care

Facebook: www.facebook.com/flysaa

SA Express announces that it will suspend operations from 18 March 2020 until further notice.

17 March 2020, Johannesburg. In light of adverse recent developments including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, SA Express announces that it will suspend operations from 18 March 2020 until further notice. 
 
This decision will impact both SA Express customers and staff in the following manner:
 
•           All customers will be accommodated on alternative flights
•           All non-critical SA Express staff will be placed on compulsory leave during this time
 
The airline will utilise this period to review its current network and streamline operations for improved efficiency. 
 
SA Express will provide communication on any additional developments in due course. 

15 Squadron Extract Sick Crewman Off Durban Coast

15 Squadron received  a call saying there’s a male person on a ship with cerebral malaria. With the ongoing spread of Coronavirus the risk of the Ships being allowed to dock in the nearby Durban Harbour was a no go.

The vessel CONRAD  is a Bulk Carrier built in 2017 (3 years old) and currently sailing under the flag of Liberia.

Bulk Carrier Vessel CONRAD

A SAAF Oryx Helicopter part of the 15 Squadron helicopter asset was to the Rescue as a need  to get the patient off the ship. Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Fraser Officer Commanding  15 Squadron, Major Altaaf Sheik and Flight Sargent Ryan Naidoo together with three members from Netcare 911 flew out to the ship 12nm from the coast and hoisted members of the Netcare personnel onto the vessel (called the “Conrad”). The man was  stabilized, ventilated and other  other necessary precautions were put in place  while the Oryx Helicopter remained in the holding position in the versinity of the ship.

20 minutes had passed and the Oryx was called back from a NSRI vessel which was also on scene to to communicate with both the Oryx crews, the ship and the NSRI. On the ship the patient was ready for extrication. The Oryx proceeded into the hover over the helipad again and hoisted the medics and the patient onboard and flew him to St Augustines hospital in Durban.

Once again 15 Squadron pulled off a successful sea extraction and saved a life. 15 Squadron is based at the old Durban International Airport and is home to Agusta A109LUHs and Oryx Helicopters, with their sister base in Airforce Station Port Elizabeth home to 15 Squadron “Charlie” Flight flying BK117s.

As 15 Squadron says
“The first 15 the rest are reserves “

SAA Adheres To World Health Organisation And IATA Protocols On COVID-19 Coronavirus

JOHANNESBURG, 12 March 2020 – South African Airways (SAA) assures customers that its operational health and safety procedures adhere to the World Health Organisation’s protocols to protect its customers and crew from contracting the COVID-19 (coronavirus) while flying with SAA.

SAA follows procedures, advice and guidelines from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organisation, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Civil Aviation Authorities as well as the airports and customs authorities’ directives to ensure the safety of its customers.

“The safety, health and wellbeing of our customers and crew is a number one priority.  To ensure their wellbeing, we adhere to the following procedures:

·       To clean the aircraft, SAA uses the disinfectants, which have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are effective against the COVID-19 (coronavirus).

·       The cleaning protocols our teams use to clean our aircraft have been intensified and focus among other things,  on high frequent touch points such as handles, seatbelt buckles, tray tables and armrests.

·       Hard surfaces such as lavatories, galley units and window shades are also thoroughly cleaned with multi-purpose cleaners.

·       The Airbus fleet is equipped with state-of-the-art, High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters that sift out and remove dust, bacteria, allergens and other unhygienic particles.

·       SAA crew have been trained to handle situations involving communicable diseases or any other medical emergencies on board and they work closely with ground and inflight expert medical assistance.

·        All our aircraft are loaded with bio-hazardous spill kits in case of a contamination event (or to handle a contamination event) and cleaning materials.

“We assess all our passengers and advise that if they are feeling ill, they need to follow recommendations offered by medical professionals,” SAA said in a statement.

SAA said that although it is following customs limits and guidelines, passengers are welcome to travel with antibacterial wipes and hand sanitisers.

SAA crew use officially approved and industry recognised disinfectants on all flights. Cabin crew (Flight attendants) use gloves sanctioned by the food industry.  The airline uses sanitation procedures for all domestic, regional and international flights.  Should a passenger show any respiratory symptoms on board, i.e. coughing, sneezing, our crew will provide a surgical mask to the passenger to prevent transmission of micro-organisms.

Should health authorities inform the airline that a person who travelled with SAA exhibited coronavirus symptoms, the aircraft will be taken out of service and put through a decontamination process.

While SAA takes all the necessary steps to ensure that their customers enjoy a healthy flying experience, the airline advises customers to also take precautions to stay healthy while flying.

The Global recommended Precautionary tips include:

  • Wash hands with soap often;
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser after touching any surface;
  • Avoid touching eyes, face and nose;
  • Avoid contact with coughing passengers by whatever means possible and
  • Stay home if sick.

We thank customers for the support by continuing to place their trust in South African Airways with their travel plans.

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