Air Mauritius just announced that regular flights between Johannesburg and Mauritius had resumed.
The airline will now fly five weekly flights on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays beginning in January 2022. Both the Airbus A350-900 and the Airbus A330-900neo will be used for the flights.
On Friday, Mauritius reopened its border to passengers from South Africa and eight other previously prohibited nations, allowing Air Mauritius flights to resume from Johannesburg.
This was the latest island nation to withdraw its South African travel ban, three weeks ahead of schedule, after Seychelles and the Maldives followed suit.
The popular island getaway had originally stated that the Omicron-related travel ban would be in effect until January 31.
South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia were among the African countries affected by the ban, which was enforced after the contentious Omicron coronavirus variant was discovered in late November.
“The high infection rates in over 50 countries means a person is as likely to catch the Omicron variant in Port Louis, Berlin, Brussels or Paris or as they are in Johannesburg or Cape Town.
Travel bans have become redundant in the face of this reality,” Otto de Vries, CEO of the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA), said in reaction to Mauritius’ ban. “ASATA is profoundly frustrated and disappointed by the Mauritian Government’s decision to further extend a travel ban when it is evident there is no scientific basis to continue the ban.”
The island country’s earlier intention to prolong the travel ban until January 31 was met with scorn, prompting the popular island resort to make a last-minute change of plans on Thursday.
“We are very pleased that South Africans can once again travel to Mauritius,” Arvind Bundhun, Director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), said.