National carrier South African Airways (SAA) said it would suspend all its domestic flights from Friday until April 16 in compliance with a 21-day government lockdown announced by President to curb the spread of Covid-19.
In an address broadcast live on television on Monday night, Ramaphosa said all people in South Africa would be compelled to stay at home, save for essential services such as health workers in the public and private sectors, emergency personnel and those in security services such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel and soldiers.
"SAA supports this national effort as announced by the government, to retard, contain, manage and disrupt the rate of transmission of Covid-19," said the airline, which last Friday announced the suspension of all intercontinental and Africa regional flights until May 31.
It said it would provide support to passengers intending to change their travel plans and commence their journeys before the implementation of the national lockdown.
There would be one free travel change for travel between March 24 and March 26, on a first-come-first-served basis, SAA added.
Flight cancellations in response to Covid-19, which is spreading rapidly around the world after emerging in China last December, will hurt all airlines in general, but SAA is particularly vulnerable after having already been placed under business rescue in late 2019 due to its long-standing financial problems.