JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance party on Friday called on Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to provide reasons behind new regulations banning the serving and consumption of food and drinks on domestic flights.
A government gazette published on March 1 said airlines operating domestic flights would no longer be allowed to provide catering on-board aircrafts except for bottled water.
In addition, passengers on domestic flights were now prohibited from eating at all, on board the aircraft.
The DA said the ban had potentially adverse economic consequences on airlines as this was a loss of a revenue stream.
“We are asking for a clear evidence-based reasons why this decision has been taken by government and whether the industry had been consulted and warned before these regulations were gazetted,” member of parliament and DA shadow minister of transport Chris Hunsinger said in a statement.
“Given the financial impact that these regulations can have on the industry, the DA would like the minister to provide the rationale and reasons for this decision and whether the department and government has engaged with the airline industry before they came to this conclusion.”
Airlines are trying to get back on their feet after heavy disruptions to the industry last year when governments including that of South Africa introduced stringent economic and social restrictions, including a ban on air travel, to try and curb transmissions of the Covid-19 virus.
Almost the entire South African economy went into a hard lockdown for seveal months from March 27 last year, before the government started gradually relaxing the restrictions to allow a resumption of some activity.
Domestic flights were allowed to resume in June.
– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa