Thursday 2 July 2020
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iol - 29 days ago

Mbalula, ACSA CEO support FlySafair’s R750 seat blocking policy

Johannesburg - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and ACSA chief executive Mpumi Mpofu have said they have no reservations over FlySafair s R750 seat blocking policy ahead of domestic flights resuming in June. There was an uproar on social media on Tuesday when it was announced that the private airline would allow passengers to block a seat by paying an additional R750. This would allow a passenger on a window or aisle seat to have the middle seat vacant. Airlines will be allowed to operate at 100% capacity during level 3 lockdown, with authorities expressing satisfaction at the measures that have been put in place to curtail the virus spreading on flights. Mbalula said he had noted the outrage directed at FlySafair on Twitter, but he said the airline had done nothing wrong. “It s a marketing strategy for those who don t trust HEPA (high efficiency particular air filter), ‘so you don t trust HEPA, pay more’,” he said. “Airlines work towards your pocket... I can simply book 5 seats or 10 seats. It s according to your pocket,” he said. Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Sihle Mlambo/IOL
Mbalula said the R750 seat blocking measure was not a pre-requisite to fly and said it was for those who had heightened Covid-19 anxieties and who could afford to. “Airlines exist on the basis of that (profit). We cannot be opposed to it. I saw it raised an uproar in the public discourse. “I m not a spokesperson for FlySafair, they can speak for themselves, (but to me) it is a marketing tool. They don t need our permission for that,” he said. Mpofu said they had put in stringent measures in place to ensure travelers on flights were healthy to travel and free of Covid-19. She said a “sick bay” at the back of the aircraft would be utilised for travellers who developed symptoms while on-board, and passengers who displayed symptoms or had a high temperature would be sent home if they were detected at the various checkpoints at the airport. On the seat blocking matter, Mpofu said: “We believe it is important to support all measures available in aircraft that will show a sensitivity. “The FlySafair model is to give you maximum options. We are not opposed to it. “Some individuals may not want to sit next to anyone, so we have no objections to that,” she said. IOL * For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL s special #Coronavirus page. ** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za


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