The UAE has reopened to travel from South Africa – but Etihad will only resume flights in March

Business Insider SA
An Etihad Airways Boeing 777-300ER.
  • The United Arab Emirates reopened to travellers from South Africa, and 11 other African countries, on Saturday.
  • Emirates has resumed flights to and from South Africa, after a two-month suspension which only allowed for passengers to enter Johannesburg.
  • But the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways will only return to South Africa in March.
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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently reopened to travellers from South Africa, but Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airwayswill only resume flights between the two countries in March.

Travel restrictions imposed on South Africa following the discovery of the Omicron coronavirus in late November are easing. Most of Europe, North America, and the Middle East remained off limits to travellers from South Africa throughout December, with the controversial restrictions slowly relaxing in the new year.

The UAE is one of the latest countries to reverse its ban on travellers from South Africa and 11 other African nations. Travel between South Africa and the UAE resumed on Saturday, two months after the ban was first imposed.

Emirates, which until recently only operated passenger flights into, but not out of, Johannesburg also restarted outbound operations on Saturday. Double daily flights, as well as flights to and from Cape Town and Durban, will resume on Tuesday.

And while Emirates’ return comes as relief to frustrated travellers who needed to contend with numerous extensions of the suspension throughout January, the UAE’s other major airline, Etihad Airways, will only return to South Africa from the first week in March.

“Following the UAE government approval to resume passenger flights to a number of African countries, Etihad Airways will recommence services between Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg from 3 March 2022,” the airline said in a statement.

“Passengers arriving from Johannesburg will be required to present a negative PCR test obtained within 48 hours of their departure, a negative rapid PCR test obtained within 6 hours of their departure from the airport and to take a PCR test upon arrival at Abu Dhabi international airport.”

Etihad had initially hoped to resume flights to and from South Africa in February.

The airline, which has been one of the most inactive Middle Eastern carriers in its South African operations – compared to Qatar and Emirates – had resumed its service to Johannesburg just weeks before Omicron sparked international travel bans.

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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