Airlink starts flying between Joburg, Durban, Cape Town on Monday – with tickets from R1,600

Business Insider SA
Airlink plane taking off
Airlink (Supplied)
  • Airlink has started selling tickets for domestic flights in South Africa next week.
  • The first routes available will be between Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as between Johannesburg and Durban.
  • Mango has flights available for mid-June, while FlySafair is also expected to take flight again around that time.
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Privately-run regional airline Airlink will take to the skies on Monday, with tickets for flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as between Johannesburg and Durban now for sale.

Air travel for business purposes is now permitted under Alert Level 3, after being banned in previous stages of the lockdown.

Airlink tickets are available from Monday, 8 June – with one-way flights from Johannesburg to Durban starting at around R1,600, while a ticket between Johannesburg and Cape Town is on sale from R2,200.

The first available domestic flights on Mango are from Monday 15 June, while FlySafair also said it would start flying mid-June.

Comair, which operates kulula and British Airways in SA and entered business rescue (a version of bankruptcy protection) last month, and will only start flying again in October or November.

There is still some uncertainty about when SAA – also in business rescue – will offer flights. While the company itself said it will resume flights from mid-June, this has been disputed by its business rescue practitioners.

Airlink operates 55 routes to 39 destinations in nine African countries, and also flies to St Helena.

The company will use its 98-seat Embraer E190 regional jets for the Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg flights. More flights will be added in mid-June.

While a separate, privately owned company, Airlink formed an alliance with SAA and SA Express in 1997. It operates as a feeder airline, linking smaller towns and regional hubs to the bigger network.

But this relationship has turned sour, and Airlink sued SAA for a reported R700 million earlier this year. Airlink claims SAA has not been paying over revenue from Airlink tickets sold in November and December 2019 through SAA's booking system. 

What flights be like during the crisis

Passengers on flights during lockdown can expect to have their temperature checked beforehand – and anyone who registers a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher will be sent home, FlySafair warned previously.

Passengers will not be required to hand over an identity document to the check-in staff, and will self-scan themselves onto planes.         

It is expected that no drinks or snacks will be sold on board, though water may be made available.

Before the coronavirus crisis, six million people flew between Johannesburg and Cape Town every year.

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