RwandAir and Emirates have suspended flights into Southern Africa citing the prevalence of the Covid-19 variants in the region and other operations related factors.
Before the suspension of the flights, the Rwandan airline was flying into Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia.
“In view of the global concerns on Covid-19 variants prevalent throughout Southern Africa, RwandAir announces the suspension of its flights to Johannesburg, Capetown, Lusaka and Harare effective February 8, 2021,” it said in a statement, adding that the scheduled flights would resume once there was clarity on the situations.
“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused. Affected customers can rebook and fly at a later date at no additional cost-or request a refund.”
In a statement Emirates Harare office also said flights to and from Harare, a linked service with Lusaka, will temporarily be suspended from the February 13 to 28 due to operational reasons.
“Flights to/from Lusaka will continue to operate as four weekly services. Customers holding tickets with final destination Harare, will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin. Emirate regrets any inconvenience caused. Affected customers are advised to contact their travel agents or Emirates contact centre for rebooking option,” reads the statement.
The Covid-19 pandemic has become a major threat to the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) economies. The bloc’s chair and Mozambique President Mr Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, recently expressed worry over rising Covid-19 cases as the region was accounting for more than 50 percent of all new daily infections in Africa.
He noted that the world has witnessed a worrying situation as a result of the increase in new infections caused ultimately by a new strain of coronavirus with higher potential of transmissibility.
In this context, President Nyusi said the Covid-19 pandemic remains a major challenge in almost all Sadc member States.