Airport management at O. R. Tambo International Airport is urging passengers who will be flying in the coming weeks and who likely have not travelled by air in the past 12 months to prepare themselves for the end-to-end wearing of masks and other health precautions.
Spokesperson Samukelo Khambule said key measures adopted early in the lockdown period have been further eased and that the airport will more closely resemble the experience of passengers before Covid-19.
“From this week the airport has been opened to members of the public for the first time since March 27. In addition, the lower roadway has been opened for pick-ups which will ease congestion in Parkade 2 South.
"The upper roadway was reopened for drop-offs several weeks ago as was the open-air Piazza area which is for taxis and e-hailing services. Level 1 of the basement parkade closest to international arrivals has been open for some weeks while designated long-stay parking levels underneath the City Lodge remain open.
“Since restrictions began to be lifted from June, the number of passengers returning to the skies has grown gradually but steadily,” said Khambule.
From the beginning of June, O. R. Tambo International Airport has facilitated 218 708 departing domestic passengers and 2 385 arriving domestic flights.
The market for international and regional flights reopened from November 20. The regional market has accumulated 4 587 departing passengers and 259 arriving movements. The international market accumulated 48 598 departing passengers and 112 arriving movements since November 20 2020.
Khambule said that while the airport expects increased volumes of passengers and flights over December and January, the total is likely to be about half of the 2019 holiday season due to the pandemic.
“To ensure sufficient processing time, we encourage passengers to arrive early at the airport, at least two hours before your flight for domestic travel and four hours for international travel.
"We should all remain acutely conscious of the increased risks whenever larger numbers of people congregate. The national Covid situation is something that should drive renewed commitment to follow simple measures that protect each of us.
“We remain reluctant to adopt a heavy-handed approach to enforcement of the health protocols. We have Covid Monitors in place across the airport, but it is not possible to police every person in every queue. It is therefore essential that travellers and airport visitors continue to apply good judgment, particularly in terms of physical distancing,” added Khambule.
She said passengers and those transporting them to the airport need to verify that they are not parked in a high-tariff zone if they leave their vehicles at the airport.
"Tariffs are posted at entrance booms. Before a ticket is dispensed at Level 2 of Parkade 2 South, drivers will hear a voice note warning them that they are entering a high-tariff zone. Vehicles left unattended within the pick-up (arrivals) and drop-off (departures) zones will be clamped and the owner will have to pay a fine for parking in a non-parking area," she added.