Regulations prohibiting catering on board domestic flights were gazetted by Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula on Monday (March 1). Passengers are also prohibited from bringing their own food and eating it on board.

The regulations do allow for “operators conducting international flights” to provide catering on board the aircraft “provided that they take all risk mitigation, health and safety measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 including the provision of pre-packed meals”.

“Not having catering on board a flight certainly steals from the experience, but we’ve taken the stance that it’s just the right thing to do in the current circumstances,” FlySafair chief marketing officer, Kirby Gordon, told us.

“Realistically, we’d love to be able to open that much-needed revenue stream, but we’ve not done so because it just hasn’t seemed responsible.”

He added that there had been “so much” published on how a modern aircraft cabin was a safe place to be in terms of the spread of infection, thanks to the aggressive manner in which air quality is managed in the confined cabin spaces.

“But all of these studies have assumed mask wearing throughout the flight, which is important to keep in mind,” said Kirby.

Other new Level 1 lockdown regulations affecting air travel:

  • Long-haul flight departures and landings at OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg), King Shaka International Airport (Durban) and Cape Town International Airport are permitted during the hours of curfew (midnight to 04h00).
  • Passengers affected by these flights must present evidence of a flight ticket when stopped by law enforcement officers during curfew hours.
  • Domestic airlines must adjust flight times in line with the new curfew hours.