The German Ambassador to South Africa has thanked South African Airways (SAA) for the airline’s role in repatriating 5 600 European citizens who had been caught in South Africa by the national lockdown and travel ban, imposed to counter the Covid-19 pandemic. The German and other European Union (EU) citizens were flown home in charter flights, organised by the German government and operated by SAA.
“We are incredibly glad that we were able to bring so many of our compatriots home,” said Ambassador Martin Schäfer on April 24. “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.”
The SAA repatriation flights to Germany started on April 3. The final such flight, on April 23, was from Cape Town.
“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 [the Department of International Relations and Cooperation], to the health authorities, airport staff, traffic police and the Western Cape government,” he added. “We had people from almost every EU country present on our flights. That’s European solidarity in trying times.”
“We’re all in this together,” affirmed the Ambassador. “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 SAA flights were part of a global German repatriation programme. This brought home some 240 000 German tourists, from all around the world.
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