Airlink suspends Lesotho and Skukuza flights due to coronavirus ban, outbreak

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Maseru's Moshoeshoe I International Airport is Lesotho's primary air transport gateway. (Supplied)
Maseru's Moshoeshoe I International Airport is Lesotho's primary air transport gateway. (Supplied)

Airlink, the privately-owned regional airline, announced on Thursday the immediate suspension of its daily service between Johannesburg and Maseru.

This follows the Lesotho government's ban on passenger flights to and from Moshoeshoe I International Airport.

 "We regret, but respect the decision to temporarily halt passenger flights to Maseru's Moshoeshoe I International Airport, which is Lesotho's primary air transport gateway and we apologise to our customers for the inconvenience and disruption to their business that this will cause," Airlink Managing Director and CEO Rodger Foster said in a statement.

On Wednesday afternoon Lesotho's authorities issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) prohibiting all international, regional and domestic flights to and from the kingdom from Thursday morning until 27 January 2021 as one of its measures to contain Covid-19 infections.

"The well-being of our customers, crew and staff is our priority. Although we are required to suspend our Maseru flight, we continue to operate all of our other flights to destinations throughout Southern Africa and within South Africa," added Foster.

"By diligently applying and adhering to stringent bio-security protocols, we have demonstrated that flying is the safest way to travel and that we can continue to support and enable business, tourism and trade without spreading the coronavirus. Airlink is looking forward to re-establishing the vital connections that sustain the all-important trade, business, tourism and family ties between the Mountain Kingdom and its neighbour.

UPDATE: On Thursday afternoon Airlink announced that it had to suspend its air services to and from Skukuza Airport in the Kruger National Park following an outbreak of Covid-19 at the Lower Sabie rest camp.

Airlink continues to operate flights to Hoedspruit and Nelspruit KMI Airport, the two closest alternates for travellers planning to visit the Kruger National Park or other resorts and camps in the area.

"In order to protect our customers, crews and personnel from exposure to the virus, we have decided to halt all operations at the Skukuza Airport until 28 January 2021. We apologise to ticketholders for any inconvenience this might cause, said Foster.



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