Fikile Mbalula satisfied that OR Tambo is ready for domestic flights

Mpofu said she was confident that airports would be safe for employees and passengers as the company started preparing for the eventual reopening almost as soon as the national lockdown was implemented.

“During the period of travel restrictions, we began developing plans and protocols with Airports Council International and the International Air Transport Association. The measures we have in place are therefore aligned to the standards recently set out by international aviation organisations,” said Mpofu.

“Conforming to global standards is essential for airports, particularly when we eventually reach a point where the government can consider opening up airports for international travel.”

Mpofu cautioned that the process of reopening airports in a way that maximised safety should not be considered a binary contest between combating Covid-19 and maintaining a functioning economy.

“The reality is that we have to learn to do both and do them well. For us, reopening airports in a safe way is just the first step. We aim to be a leader and catalyst in the aviation sector through the recovery,” she said.

“In acting on this goal, we will all need to give the greatest attention to what we can do, rather than the constraints that face all of us.”