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Twenty months after Richards Bay Airport closed due to Covid-19 regulations, it is ready to open its doors and runway again.

The airport is set to welcome Airlink again on 19 September.

The airline had high hopes that it would be able to fly to and from the airport earlier in 2021, but it never happened.

The airport, like many other major airports in the country, was forced to close during the hard lockdown, but once the ban on domestic travel was lifted, the airport never opened.

Business Insider reports that the planned reopening was delayed, first by five months, then until May 2021. Delays persisted throughout 2021, with Airlink citing reduced demand amid the continued economic lull, coupled with the South African Civil Aviation Authority’s (SACAA) lingering safety concerns, as key factors in the airport’s prolonged closure.

In a statement on Friday, Airlink CEO Rodger Foster highlighted the importance of the route.

“Richards Bay is vital to the economies of KwaZulu-Natal and the entire country. Its viability and development depend on a fully-functioning and efficient transportation system, with air connectivity playing a key role in driving business and investment.”

Image credit: NMG Simulations

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