Operations In South Africa – UAS Station Manager Speaks From The Ground


Operations in South Africa – UAS Station Manager speaks from the ground

Brandon Austin | - 07/07/2020

Operations in South Africa – UAS Station Manager speaks from the ground: As UAS Station Manager in South Africa I’m pleased that domestic operations resumed on July 1. Since OR Tambo, King Shaka, Cape Town, and Lanseria international airports opened last month, airlines have been gradually taking to the skies mainly through the phase 1 approved airports.

Following the government announcement, the airports and airlines submitted their Standard Operating Procedures to the SACAA for approval, then followed compliance inspections conducted by the Regulator to all four airports.

Immediately, airlines opened for flight bookings and it took them almost two weeks to build passenger numbers to 50% capacity.

My team and I visited OR Tambo and Lanseria for a walk-about and we were satisfied that the airports were ready to resume operations.

It was critical for us to test the efficiency and impact of the guidelines we issued against the health and safety of the passengers and aviation personnel operating in this space.

Like any other area, we are making continuous improvement in areas where we observed challenges in consultation with the Department of Health representatives.

Some of our observations…

  • As more airports re-open, measures have been put in place to ensure that passengers are prepared for their experience at the airports to avoid congestion mainly at security check points. Whilst this is work perfectly at the airports currently, it will need to be managed properly as activity increases.
  • To date the SACAA has received about 117 SOPs from industry and more than 87 have been approved.
  • Sanitisers are classified as dangerous goods and the SACAA has made provision for the carrying of such in limited quantities as a safety measure and in compliance with existing regulations.
  • For the efficient facilitation of passengers at the airports, the operators have urged the flying community to arrive at least 2 hours early to allow for sufficient time to process passengers at the airports whilst adhering to the screening requirements as per the DOH regulations.
  • The SACAA have also reviewed its earlier decision not to allow on-board catering by permitting airlines to provide pre-packed meals that must be placed in front of the seat for each passenger before the passenger board the aircraft. This will allow for minimised movement during flight.

Having engaged further with the aviation industry with regards to the observations made during phase 1 of domestic air travel activities, it’s great to see the following relaxations in this sector of the transport industry:

International flights

All international passenger flights are prohibited except those flights authorised by the Minister of Transport.

Domestic flights 

Domestic passenger flights are permitted subject to the following conditions: In addition to the original four airports that are currently operating, the following domestic airports reopen from July 1:

  • Bram Fischer International Airport
  • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
  • Pietermaritzburg Airport
  • Port Elizabeth International Airport
  • Richardsbay Airport
  • Skukuza Airport
  • Upington International Airport

Business operations

General aviation is permitted for the following purposes:

  • Approved regional re-positioning flights for all South African and foreign registered aircraft into and from South Africa for return after maintenance and repair, to perform maintenance and repair or to continue with contractual work within South Africa or foreign countries within the region
  • The exchange of crew members operating in foreign countries as and when required
  • Transporting of aviation technicians, mechanics and engineers internationally for essential support and assistance to aircraft
  • Proficiency flights provided that the flight is authorised by the South African Civil Aviation Authority and remains within the general flying area, airfield or airport boundaries
  • Recreational aviation is permitted for proficiency flights provided that the flight is authorised by the South African Civil Aviation Authority and remains within the general flying area, airfield or airport boundaries.

For support with your flight operations in South Africa, contact UAS