Whilst a return to scheduled long-haul travel is many months away, there are signs of progress in opening up air travel “bubbles” on long-haul routes.
BA has restarted scheduled passenger flights to India with return flights to Delhi and Mumbai, and one-way only flights from Bengaluru and Hyderabad to London Heathrow.
These routes have specific procedures for booking with flights to Delhi and Mumbai closing for sale 72 hours before departure.
BA has now made a similar move for South Africa. The airline will be operating special one-way only flights from Johannesburg on Sunday 6, Friday 11, Friday 25 and Sunday 27 September 2020.
These flights will leave Johannesburg in the morning, rather than the evening. The exact flight times quoted by BA differ from what is currently showing on ba.com Flights will be operated with Boeing 777 aircraft.
These flights close for sale 7 days before departure. Seats are offered for sale in World Traveller economy, World Traveller Plus premium economy and Club World business class at fixed prices. Passengers must ensure they complete the forms specified by BA in advance of travel.
There are also specific procedures for check-in, which takes place at the Garden Court Hotel at OR Tambo International airport.
Whilst passengers can connect from domestic flights in South Africa, BA’s franchise partner Comair has suspended all flights until November 2020.
More detailed guidance is available in a document BA has released for its travel trade partners.
Whilst these are only two one-off flights, it is hoped it is at least the start of progress between airlines and governments to reopen scheduled international travel in a secure manner.
Update Friday 25 September
British Airways will resume daily scheduled flights from London Heathrow to Cape Town and Johannesburg on 1 October 2020.