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Monday, 16 August 2021 19:30

Emirates announces further expansion into South Africa through Airlink.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

UAE-based airline Emirates has announced a new agreement with regional airline Airlink as part of its ongoing expansion into South Africa.

The deal will give travellers to and from South Africa access to more than 40 domestic and regional destinations in Africa, Emirates said.

Emirates resumed its flights to South Africa at the start of July, with the airline announcing a significant increase in flights after the UAE eased travel restrictions on South Africa this week.

The connectivity provided by the new codeshare between Emirates and Airlink will offer competitive fares, combined ticketing, and seamless baggage transfers when connecting between both airlines, Emirates said.

The airline said that customers travelling to South Africa can now transfer from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to domestic points like:

  • Bloemfontein
  • George
  • Upington
  • Nelspruit
  • Hoedspruit
  • Kimberley
  • Skukuza
  • Pietermaritzburg
  • Richards Bay
  • Port Elizabeth

"Our new codeshare agreement enhances our service offering and flexibility for customers travelling beyond our gateways in South and Southern Africa and provides them unparalleled options for leisure destinations," said Adnan Kazim, chief commercial officer of Emirates Airline.

"We are committed to growing our operations in South Africa, and with the strong connection opportunities being provided collectively with Airlink we hope to help jumpstart the recovery of the local travel and tourism industry."

"Our codeshare partnership with Airlink complements the valuable relationship Emirates has with South African Airways, which we eagerly anticipate to restart once the airline is back in operation."

The United Arab Emirates eased travel restrictions on South Africa this week, with the country also relaxing entry protocols for travellers.

The change means that passengers will be allowed to travel to their final destination through Dubai from South Africa – subject to specific requirements.

All passengers must still complete all the requirements of their final destination and present a negative Covid‑19 PCR test certificate for a test taken 72 hours or fewer before departure or as required by their final destination.

Only Covid‑19 PCR test reports from certified labs that issue a QR code linked to the original report will be accepted.

The UAE is the latest major travel market to ease restrictions on South Africa, with several major European countries also beginning to reopen travel.

On 1 August, the German government said that South Africa is no longer listed as an area of concern but “only” a high-risk area. The general travel ban has also been lifted.

Similarly, Spain has lifted its complete travel ban on South Africa from 3 August but still requires travellers to quarantine for 10 days even if they are fully vaccinated.

At the end of July, France said that it would also relax restrictions for some South African travellers.

mapping tool developed by travel website Skyscanner shows that as of 16 August, South Africa has 86 ‘major restrictions’ from other countries in place.

These countries have suspended travel, may be closed to entry, or entry may only be possible if you are a citizen/meet strict entrance requirements.

By comparison, there are currently 27 moderate restrictions on South Africa, where travel is possible, but only if travellers meet certain entry requirements, including taking Covid-19 tests.