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Qatar Airways does U-turn on resuming SA outbound flights

Just days after reopening bookings for flights from six Southern African cities, Doha-based Qatar Airways has reissued travel advice saying it will not accept passengers travelling from these countries.

On December 10, the airline announced that it would resume outbound passenger services from Johannesburg and Cape Town from December 12 with two flights a day from Johannesburg and one from Cape Town.

The news, which tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu welcomed with an official statement on Friday, allegedly prompted a rush of bookings.

On Saturday, however, angry passengers took to Twitter to say the flights had been  summarily cancelled as the airline did a U-turn on its decision.

“Why @qatarairways cancelled flights out of SA yet again?” wrote user Arin Greek D. “Why ??????? You are breaking hearts QR, what a shame.”

Sumit Galati said the airline had suspended the SA-Doha sector “and the booked tickets are showing cancelled. Harassing people.”

While the airline had not issued an official statement on Sunday, its website noted that it would not be accepting passengers travelling from five of its Southern African destinations.

The five countries are SA, Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“However, we will continue to accept passengers for travel into these countries in-line with current restrictions,” it said.

Flights have been suspended until December 31.

 In a statement issued on Friday, and subsequently published on the airline’s Twitter feed, Sisulu welcomed the resumption of Qatar Airways and Air France flights to SA.

“We advocate global solidarity in the fight against the pandemic,” she said.

Tourism spokesperson Mpumzi Zuzile told TimesLIVE that the department could not comment until the airline’s decision had been confirmed.



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