Travel bans
    (Constantine Johnny, Getty)
      • From Tuesday, flights to Amsterdam – daily from OR Tambo and three times a week from Cape Town – will not be carrying ordinary ordinary South Africans.
      • Dutch airline KLM will be accepting only Dutch citizens, EU residents, and a handful of special classes of professional travellers.
      • But any flights are good flights right now, the travel industry says.
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      Dutch flag carrier KLM is reinstating a heavy schedule of passenger flights to and from South Africa – but ordinary South Africans won't be allowed on the outbound planes.

      From Tuesday, 23 February, it will only accept Dutch nationals and residents of the European Union and Schengen States on flights from South Africa, the airline said.

      That also holds for passengers who want to transit through Amsterdam, but who do not intend to actually leave the airport. 

      There are just a handful of special exceptions that would apply to South African citizens: airline crew, seafarers, and medical staff are not subject to the ban.

      Flights in the other direction, leaving from Amsterdam, are not affected.

      The KLM schedule has daily flights from Johannesburg's OR Tambo, leaving just before midnight every day, and flights from Cape Town International slightly earlier on Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays.

      For those who are eligible to travel, the Netherland's requirement for not one but two negative coronavirus tests is still in place: a rapid antigen test one hour before entering the boarding zone, plus the standard PCR test no more than 72 hours before departure.

      All travellers must also still self-isolate for 10 days after their arrival in the Netherlands, or comply with the rules of their final destination if they are just passing through Amsterdam.

      The Netherlands imposed tough travel restrictions again in January, after a December that saw it very briefly ban South Africans entirely for fear of the new variant of the coronavirus that now dominates in SA.

      Some in South Africa's embattled travel industry have cautiously welcomed the KLM news, saying any inbound flight to South Africa is a positive.

      (Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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