The discovery of the new Omicron variant saw British Airways and Virgin Atlantic grounding their services to some countries in Southern Africa on Friday, as South Africa was added to the red list again.
Since then, flights between South Africa and the United Kingdom have resumed this week, and only British or Irish nationals, or travellers with residence rights in the UK, have been permitted to enter, with the hotel quarantine programme back in full effect.
Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, said British Airways would resume direct flights to South Africa from Tuesday, with the first flight to London on Wednesday.
Info received from @ukinsouthafrica.
– @British_Airways will resume direct flights to #SouthAfrica from Tuesday (30 Nov) with the 1st flight to London on W/day. It’ll be 1 daily flight to Cape Town & ORTIA.
– Virgin flies 3 times a week into ORTIA. They haven’t stopped theirs.
— Clayson Monyela (@ClaysonMonyela) November 28, 2021
Virgin Atlantic cancelled five flights between London Heathrow and Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport while British Airways grounded its service to Johannesburg and Cape Town over the weekend. These sudden cancellations left stranded passengers in a panic after travel plans were disrupted.
But shortly after, a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said that operations will be restarted: “Following the reinstatement of South Africa on the UK Government’s ‘red list’, we’ve been actively reviewing our flying schedule and will be cancelling all passenger services from Johannesburg to London Heathrow until Wednesday 1 December, when flight VS450 is next scheduled to operate.”
Meanwhile, most British Airways’ flights have already been sold out, with the available business class seats departing Johannesburg and reaching heights of R45 000.