SouthAfricanAirways(SAA), repatriatedover300South African citizens on April 14, 2020 aboard a specially planned charter flight from the Miami International Airport (MIA) to South Africa. This flight, chartered by Workaway International, operated with SAA’s new state-of-the art flagship Airbus A350-900 aircraft, departed Miami on Tuesday evening en route to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Workaway International is a USA-based recruiting agency, headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, whose mission is to provide young South Africans with the opportunity for employment in the hospitality industry in South Florida during the traditional high tourist season of November through May. Due to the onset of the COVID-19 virus, many of the golf resorts and other business in the hospitality industry that employed these young adults have temporarily closed, requiring the South Africans to return home.
“SAA and Workaway International have enjoyed a long-standing partnership and we are honoured to be working with them on this special repatriation flight to carry this group of young South Africans home to reunite with family and loved ones,” said Todd Neuman, executive vice president, North America for South African Airways. “We felt a great sense of pride in seeing the excitement from this group as they boarded our A350-900 aircraft with the beautiful colors of the South African flag emblazoned on the tail and the warm greetings from SAA staff as they embarked on their journey home.”
“MIA is proud to be open and operational, so that we can help facilitate the return of these South African nationals to their homeland during these challenging times,” said Lester Sola, Miami International Airport Director and CEO.
SAA has taken measures to ensure that the airport staff, cabin crew and flight deck crew were safe and secure by providing the appropriate training and protective clothing as approved by the World Health Organization’s Communicable Disease Plan. Health screening protocols were conducted at the airport for each passenger boarding the flight and upon arrival in South Africa, the group will be placed in quarantine for 14 days in accordance with South African government travel regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.