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New airport rules under COVID-19

Airlines in South Africa will begin issuing boarding passes via WhatsApp in the near future and the development of e-bag tags has been fast-tracked and prioritised to improve ease of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Amanda Mvinjelwa, key account manager airline and government agencies at Cape Town International Airport.

And as level 3 flying gears up, ACSA (Airports Company South Africa) has issued a press release outlining the step-by-step process for passengers flying under level 3, from gaining initial entry to the airport to disembarkation and exit.

Arrival at airport:

· Limited parkade options will be available. These are signposted at each airport.

· Only passengers will be allowed into the terminal, no ‘meeters and greeters’ will be allowed.

· Baggage wrapping is now compulsory for all checked luggage for hygiene reasons.

At entrance:

· A number of access points have been closed at each airport. ASCA says passengers may visit its website for details on which access points and terminal entrance points should be used.

· Physical distancing rules will apply at the terminal entrance.

· The wearing of masks is compulsory from entry to the airport, through the flight, until the passenger has exited the destination airport.

· Passengers must produce their business travel permit/permission letters at the entrance.

· It is the passenger’s responsibility to ensure that they have the necessary permission letter before they book a flight.

· Passengers also need proof of identity and proof of ticket, which can be a printout or on a mobile device.

· Port Health will conduct screening checks at entrances.


· Passengers should check in online before going to the airport, or online check-in can be done at the self-service kiosks in the terminal building.

· A limited number of check-in counters will be open and physical distancing rules will apply in these queues. Using a check-in counter will take considerably longer than passengers are accustomed to, according to ACSA spokesperson Gopolang Peme.

· Passengers should allow for the extra time required by arriving at the airport at least two hours before scheduled departure.

Security checkpoint:

· Passengers will scan their own paper-based or mobile device-based boarding pass on the scanner at the security checkpoint.

· They are also required to remove any metal or electronic items from their person before entering the security queue (includes mobile devices, watches, jewellery, wallets, keys), and place them in the tray at the security scanner to minimise the need for physical pat-downs.

· We cannot stress the importance for passengers to arrive at least two hours before the flight, because, to maintain physical distancing, airports will only use every second scanner, and this could considerably prolong the security queueing time.

Boarding and disembarking:

· Physical distancing rules apply in the queues to board the aircraft, and passengers must scan their own boarding passes at the boarding gate.

· Boarding of aircraft will be done in phases so that the rows are filled from the back first.

· Masks must be worn for the duration of the flight and be kept on when disembarking from the aircraft and moving to baggage carousels.

· Physical distancing is required at the baggage carousels, and crowding will not be permitted.

ACSA says all the new measures being implemented at South African airports conform to the standards recently set by the Airports Council International and IATA (International Air Transport Association).

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