LIFT to resume flights as lockdown restrictions eased

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LIFT cancelled all flights on its Johannesburg - Cape Town route from 5 July this year.
LIFT cancelled all flights on its Johannesburg - Cape Town route from 5 July this year.

Low-cost airline LIFT will resume flights on its Johannesburg-Cape Town route from 1 August 2021. 

Bookings are already open, it said in a statement on Monday. 

This follows an easing of lockdown restrictions announced during President Cyril Ramaphosa's address to the nation on Sunday evening. LIFT previously cancelled all flights on the Johannesburg-Cape Town route from 5 July this year after Ramaphosa announced adjusted level 4 lockdown restrictions, which included travel restrictions to and from Gauteng in a bid to mitigate the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

"It's been a challenging few weeks for South Africa but with the clean-up underway, travel restrictions being relaxed and progress with the vaccination rollout, we're optimistic that demand for travel will return," said LIFT CEO Jonathan Ayache.

LIFT was not the only airline to suspend flights. By mid-July, Comair extended the suspension of scheduled kulula.com and British Airways flights until the end of August. Comair operates kulula.com as well as British Airways domestically under a licence agreement.

Comair said the suspension was due to the prohibition of all non-essential travel in and out of Gauteng, combined with little to no demand for business travel, as well as international travel bans.

LIFT started flying in December 2020. In its first seven months of operation, LIFT operated over 1 150 flights and transported more than 150 000 passengers with a 97% on-time performance rate.

It is owned by Global Airways, one of the Takatso consortium partners. The consortium is the new equity partner of South African Airways (SAA). A due diligence process is underway regarding the public-private partnership.

On Monday three unions at SAA's subsidiary Mango said they plan to apply for the low-cost state-owned airline to be placed in business rescue.

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