No plan to stop Emirates Airline flights to SA

NOVEMBER 18, 2014

The South African government is not planning to halt the services of Emirates Airline to South Africa, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters announced on Monday.

“We wish to state categorically that there are no intentions on the part of the South African government to do so,” said Minister Peters in a statement on Monday.

She said the Department of Transport had noted with concern media reports insinuating intentions to halt the services of Emirates Airline to South Africa.

“It is unfortunate that private and confidential correspondence between the department and the SA foreign mission in the United Arab Emirates found itself in the hands of information peddlers who leaked it to media.”

The Minister said without the necessary and relevant context, the contents of the correspondence had been blown out of proportion and consequently created undue media “frenzy and panic”.

Bilateral discussions between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are underway with a view to resolve the request by Emirates Airline to introduce a fourth daily flight to Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport and the Bilateral Air Service Agreement between SA and the UAE under which Emirates Airline operates.

Regarding the request to introduce a fourth flight to Johannesburg, the Minister said: “It must be noted that this flight by Emirates Airline is currently in operation on the basis of ‘a letter of authorisation’ to do so which was unduly granted by an official of the department with no authority to do so.

“In our attempt to correct this anomaly, Emirates Airline approached a court of law to seek an interdict against the department from halting the fourth flight to Johannesburg.

“Technically, the fourth flight is currently operating on the basis of the court interdict as the department has stated its intention to withdraw the authorisation by the official who has since been suspended due to this unfortunate situation”.

Minister Peters has since delegated the Deputy Director General for Aviation to travel to the UAE to meet with the head of South Africa’s foreign mission and the officials of the UAE to resolve the issues at hand.

“We need to attend to these issues with a sense of urgency to ensure compliance with all the statutes governing our Bilateral Air Service Agreement with the government of the UAE. The agreement is the basis on which Emirates Airline is flying to South Africa hence the need for the two governments to urgently meet and discuss all matters related to this."

She said these discussions were taking place within the spirit of progressive bilateral cooperation between SA and the UAE.

The Foreign Operator Permit granted to Emirates Airline by the department allows them to fly to South Africa 56 times a week - 14 Cape Town (CTIA), 14 Durban (KIA), and 28 Johannesburg (ORTIA), including the 4th flight in question.

Minister Peters said there was absolutely no need for passengers to panic as there was no intention to prevent Emirates Airline from flying to South Africa. -


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