Madagascar extends flight ban

Madagascar extends flight ban
Fancy brick house in Antananarivo, Madagascar

The Malagasy government has announced the indefinite extension of its ban on South African flights. The ban, which was implemented earlier this year, was extended on October 15.

There were signs of hope that the ban would be removed in June when it was reported that Madagascar’s Foreign Minister told SA President Cyril Ramaphosa that the government would soon allow South African flights to resume. However, this did not materialise.

According to the NOTAM, the ban applies to all flights to and from South Africa, not just those operated by South African entities. Airlink is among those that cannot operate Madagascar services.

The route is one of Airlink’s most profitable, and there is no indication that it will be resumed any time soon as the court case over allegedly smuggled gold shows no signs of being finalised.

Airlink’s agents in Madagascar had reportedly already been told last week by the Madagascan civil aviation authority that the ban would not be lifted until South Africa returned the 73,5kg of gold and the three Malagasy couriers.

CEO and MD of Airlink, Rodger Foster, expressed his disappointment to Travel News regarding the extension. “Airlink’s plans to resume flights to Antananarivo and Nosy Be have again been frustrated and delayed by the extension of Madagascar’s ban on flights from and to South Africa,” said Foster.  

“It obliges our customers to incur far higher costs and make circuitous journeys via intermediate cities when travelling to or from Madagascar.  It is not good for them or for Madagascar-South Africa trade, commerce, or tourism. We appeal to both governments to step up their efforts to resolve the impasse and allow Airlink and all other innocent bystanders to go about their business without being caught up in their diplomatic cross-fire.”