On 29th January 2021, Airlink announced the suspension of its air services between Johannesburg and Polokwane for the month of February.
Airlink is a privately-owned regional airline company serving a comprehensive network of smaller destinations throughout South Africa. It is also one of the busiest airlines in the country with more than 63000 flights made in 2019, and a fleet size of more than 50 commercial jetliners. The impact of the outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19 on air transport continues to be felt as the passenger traffic has greatly declined world wide with countries restricting movement as a measure to curb the spread of the virus.
The decision was reached upon when Airlink noticed a heavy decline in demand for their services given the fact that fewer people were traveling by air due to fear of COVID-19 infections and also the Level 3 lockdown restrictions.
Announced by the CEO
In a statement made by the airline, Airlink Managing Director and CEO, Rodger Foster, said that:
“Unfortunately a combination of factors, most notably the latest surge in COVID-19 infections and the Level 3 lockdown restrictions which are intended to curb the virus’s spread, have decimated demand on what is traditionally an important and busy business travel route. We are temporarily suspending the service until 03 March 2021, by which time we trust the situation will have improved.
We will resume services in March with an enhanced schedule of daily early morning and late afternoon return flights, enabling same-day return services between the two cities”.
The news was broken directly by the CEO himself – not a rarity at all in African Aviation.
The airline apologised to ticket holders for any inconvenience caused by the suspension of the flights. The airline has confirmed that passengers holding Airlink flight tickets for February flights may request to be rebooked for travel at a later date, or for a refund.
The news is similar to whats happening across swathes of regions, as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic continue to causes dismay to the travel and tourism community.
Have you been affected by these cancellations? Let us know in the comments below!