The travel restrictions South Africa has faced has been unforgiving on the travel and tourism industry, and has had a devastating effect on the livelihoods of those who rely on this industry to support their families. Inter-provincial travel for leisure is currently permitted, but the travel industry eagerly awaits the announcement from the Presidency on when our borders will open for international travel. While no exact date has been set, Air France KLM have made it a priority to continue their stringent health and safety measures are in place when an announcement is made.
Wouter Vermeulen, General Manager: Southern African Region at Air France-KLM, affirms that Air France-KLM already has the necessary health and safety measures in place, which will allow for the airlines to take to the skies for commercial travel as soon as the South African government permits.
“Over the past few months, Air France-KLM was actively involved in a series of repatriation flights to transport stranded European and South African residents back to their homes, as well as bringing essential cargo like medical equipment to the country. However, it was clear from the beginning of this pandemic that the nature of this virus dictated an instant response from us and we immediately focused on implementing and enforcing strict health and safety measures on board. These measures will continue when commercial flights are permitted and will ensure our passengers and our crew can fly in a safe and secure manner.” Vermeulen says.
All airlines, including Air France-KLM, are governed by strict civil aviation regulations. Together with Airport and Civil Aviation authorities, Air France-KLM have prepared and implemented new protocols and procedures so that travellers are assured of a safe environment whilst at the Airport and in the air.
For all Air France-KLM flights, worldwide, all passengers are required to wear a face mask for the duration of the flight. Additional hygiene equipment, such as hand sanitizers, are available on board, and the aircrafts are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using suitable cleaning agents. Air in the cabin is renewed every 3 minutes and HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, these are used to filter 99.9% of the smallest viruses, including the Corona virus. Crucially, cabin air is not circulated around the aircraft in a way that would allow the virus to reach other passengers. Air is sucked out of the cabin using vents in the floors, passed through the HEPA filters, mixed with fresh air from the outside and injected back in through air outlets and individual vents. This vertical movement of air forms a protective barrier between rows, making it highly unlikely that the virus could pass between passengers. All Air France-KLM aircraft are equipped with HEPA filters to ensure that cabin air is as safe as it can possibly be.