South African Airways heads back to Durban. Image: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP

More than 5,600 German tourists repatriated from SA in April

German repatriation flights operated by South African Airways started on 3 April and ended with a last flight out of Cape Town on 23 April.


South African Airways heads back to Durban. Image: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP

The German government has repatriated more than 5,600 travellers from South Africa since 3 April 2020.

German repatriation flights, carried out by South African Airways, started on 3 April and ended with the final flight out of Cape Town International Airport on Thursday 23 April.

German government repatriates thousands from SA

“We are incredibly glad that we were able to bring so many of our compatriots home,” said German Ambassador Martin Schäfer.

“This has been an outstanding team effort. 

“Our heartfelt thanks go to the wonderful colleagues at South African Airways, who impressed us with their professionalism, flexibility and kindness throughout this process. 

“I would also like to thank all our other South African partners without whom this huge repatriation effort would not have been possible – from our colleagues at Dirco, to the health authorities, airport staff, traffic police and the Western Cape government.”

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South Africans brought back on return flights

The flights were intended to repatriate the many German visitors to South Africa at the tail-end of the peak tourist season but were also open to citizens of other European Union member states.

The repatriation efforts also allowed South Africans stranded in Germany to fly home as the SAA aircraft made their return trips.

“We had people from almost every EU country present on our flights. That’s European solidarity in trying times”, said Ambassador Schäfer.

“We’re all in this crisis together. That’s why I am also very pleased that SAA was able to bring back South African citizens on the return trips of our repatriation flights from Germany.”

The repatriation flights from South Africa are part of a worldwide effort by the German government to bring its compatriots home during the ongoing global health crisis. Around 240,000 tourists have travelled back to Germany from countries across the world since the beginning of the month.

German tourists caught up in South Africa’s lockdown

A German tourist group made headlines earlier this month when a group was bussed from KwaZulu-Natal to the Eastern Cape just as South Africa began instituting restrictions on travel and contact ahead of a full-scale lockdown.

One of the group tested positive for the virus, leading to the closure of an Eastern Cape resort.

Germany maintains strong bonds of diplomacy with South Africa, maintaining an embassy in Pretoria, a consulate in Cape Town and honorary consul’s in Durban and Port Elizabeth.