Food and drink airlines
(Getty Images)
  • South African airlines have been prohibited from serving food or drink, with the exception of bottled water, for almost 8 months.
  • But the recent round of amendments to the Disaster Management Act by the department of transport gives airlines the greenlight to resume in-flight catering.
  • The sharing of in-flight magazines remains prohibited.
  • And any magazines which are used and left behind must be disposed of.
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South Africa’s domestic airlines have been given permission to provide pre-packaged catering, including food and drinks, to passengers. This was previously prohibited under stricter levels of lockdown.

The Disaster Management Act, which governs lockdown restrictions in South Africa, has undergone yet another change, this time by the department of transport.

Since moving to Adjusted Alert Level 1 lockdown at the beginning of October, amendments have allowed stadiums and other sporting venues to reopen, with specific health and safety clauses.

The latest round of amendments, gazetted by the department of transport on Friday, provide clarity on the operations of cruise ships and airlines.

Airlines were prohibited from serving food and drinks to passengers for almost eight months, when South Africa last moved to its lowest level of lockdown in March. The only exception to this law was the provision of bottled water, which could be served.

Recent changes to Adjusted Alert Level 1 regulations allow airlines to resume on-board catering but “must take all risk mitigation, health and safety measures to contain the spread of Covid-19” notes the gazette.

“Airlink, which last year expanded its operations to include main domestic routes, welcomes government’s decision to lift the ban on in-flight catering on domestic flights,” said Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster, in reaction to the latest amendments.

“It means we can once again provide Airlink customers with our complimentary, fresh and tasty food and beverage services.”

And while passengers can now dig into onboard meals and sip on drinks, the sharing of in-flight magazines remains prohibited.

Airlines are allowed to provide self-service complimentary magazines – “which passengers may pick up as they enter the aircraft” – but these can’t be shared. Any used magazines that are left behind after the flight must be “safely disposed” of.

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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