7 April 2021
Airlink Suspends Safari Lodge Service
Airlink, the privately-owned and independent regional airline, regrets to advise of the cancellation of its “Lodge Link” services up until 30 June 2021.
The rapidily expanding global third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in South Africa remaining on the red lists of 122 countries which are applying travel bans for travel to and from South Africa. International inbound tourists are not travelling to and from South Africa at present as a result of the broad spectrum travel bans, and with the Lodge Link system being aimed at international tourists wanting fast and simple access directly to the doorstep of the private game lodges, Airlink has had no option but to cancel its Lodge Link flights scheduled to operate from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. Airlink will review the feasibility of returning to service in July given the uncertainty of the travel bans.
The Airlink “Lodge Link System” provides air shuttle services from Skukuza and Nelspruit KMIA to Londolozi, Arathusa, Ngala, Phinda and Ulusaba game lodges.
“COVID-19 and associated travel bans have completely up-ended South Africa’s tourism industry and in the absence of international tourists, it is currently not commercially viable to operate this service, which had previously been in high-demand for tourists looking for a quick and convenient connection to the doorstep of the exclusive lodges in our region.” explained Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster.
Airlink continues to provide convenient direct air services from Cape Town and Johannesburg to Skukuza Airport, Nelspruit’s Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) and Hoedspruit, providing travellers with various options for onward travel to the Kruger Park and surrounding lodges.
Airlink launched the Lodge Link System in May 2015 to complement its popular scheduled services from Cape Town and Johannesburg to Skukuza Airport and Nelspruit KMIA.
Given the uncertainty of the travel bans, Airlink will review the feasibility of returning to service. In the interim, flights will remain closed for sale from July onwards.
“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused by the suspension of this service. Customers holding confirmed tickets on the cancelled flights should contact their booking agent, tour operator or contact Airlink Reservations on 011 451 7300 and for refunds email [email protected]” said Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster.
Airlink was established in 1992 and is an independent, privately-owned and BBBEE airline. It offers travellers a wide choice of flights across its comprehensive network of Southern African destinations, which it serves with a fleet of more than 50 modern jetliners.
Like its industrious sunbird icon, in 2019 Airlink carried more than two million customers on more than 63 000 flights and its network includes more than 30 destinations in 10 Africancountries and St Helena Island*. Airlink’s flight schedule is regularly updated and reflects the effects of COVID-19 and associated travel restrictions. The latest information is available on the Airlink website here.
Airlink was South Africa’s most punctual airline in 2020**. In February 2021 97.87% of Airlink flights departed on-time, illustrating its laser-focus on providing customers with excellent and reliable service.
* Flights serving St Helena Island will resume when the current travel restrictions are lifted.
**measured by the Airports Company South Africa.