Airlink has postponed the resumption of its service between Johannesburg and Richards Bay until May 2. Services on the route were suspended in April 2020.

The delay has been necessitated by Richards Bay Airport’s inability to provide the necessary emergency services due to slowed economic activity in the town, which has resulted in a weakened demand for travel.

“It is a classic Catch-22 situation. Historically there was strong demand on the route, enough to sustain up to three flights every day. However, the Level 3 COVID-19 restrictions have the consequence that only twenty percent of the usual number of people are allowed to be on-site at the coal terminal, which is the industrial heart of Richards Bay,” said Airlink MD and CEO, Rodger Foster.

He said the Richards Bay Airport management had advised that the expense of providing the necessary fire and rescue emergency services required to accommodate scheduled airline services could not be justified until travel demand increased.