South African Airways (SAA) has announced that it will suspend all international operations until May 31 2020 in response to a government travel ban aimed at stopping the transmission of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). SAA will only render services on its regional and domestic routes.

Following the declaration of the State of Disaster after the outbreak of COVID-19 in South Africa, the government announced a travel ban and issued regulations, which introduced certain measures aimed at combatting the spread or transmission of the virus.

SAA operates in three markets that form part of countries listed in the travel ban as high-risk areas. These are the United States (Washington DC and New York, JFK), the United Kingdom (London, Heathrow) and Germany (Frankfurt and Munich). In addition, SAA operates flights to Australia (Perth) and Brazil (São Paulo), which have not been declared high-risk. All of which are now cancelled.

“In support of efforts by government to deal with this pandemic, and in the best interests of our crew, passengers and the public, we have decided to suspend all international flights until May 31, 2020. It is all our responsibility, not just government, to curb further transmission of the virus. In addition, the increasing risks to our crew of contracting the virus including the possibility of being trapped in foreign destinations as a consequence of increasing travel bans cannot be ignored,” said SAA Acting CEO, Zuks Ramasia, in a press release statement.

For more on the crisis and its impact on the travel & tourism industry, visit the Coronavirus Updates Center.