Airline regulations

Carriage of firearms on South African Airways

Domestic (within and from the Republic of South Africa)

Departure (Inclusive of International departures)

Firearms may NOT be packed inside checked luggage and must therefore be packed in an appropriate lockable firearm container or case, separate from checked luggage.

Ammunition must be separated from weapons and SHOULD be packed as a separate piece of checked baggage in a secure lockable container or ammunition case. No ammunition may be packed loosely in checked baggage, or within the same case as firearms.

We strongly recommend that ammunition be packed in lockable cases which can be handed in as loose items at the firearm counters to avoid possible delays during checked baggage screening.

All firearms and ammunition must be declared to the airline check-in agent at the time of check-in. Undeclared firearms and ammunition within checked luggage will result in such baggage being rejected during mandatory checked baggage screening, and will result in the passenger being required to open such baggage for further inspection and safe handling, or the confiscation of such items for further processing and forwarding on a subsequent flight.

Check-in agents will issue the relevant baggage tags and will then direct firearm owners to the appropriate firearm desk for inspection and processing of firearms and ammunition for secure handling to the aircraft.

During the acceptance process at the appropriate firearm desk, the following will be conducted:

  • The owner of the firearm will be required to produce a valid license or temporary import permit for the firearm(s) and ammunition.
  • The owner of the firearm(s) will be required to make and declare the firearm(s) safe and unloaded for carriage.
  • The owner of the firearm will be required to complete a firearm register for handover to security staff, who will ensure the secure loading of such items.
  • The staff at the firearm desk will send a pre-advise notification message to the receiving station, advising them of details and loading positions of firearms.

Handguns (Pistols, revolvers, etc)

A handling fee is raised for the carriage of handguns. 1 weeks’ notice should be given to SAA about travellers using this service.
These firearms will be processed at the firearm desk for safe carriage in the hold of the aircraft. There will be no charge for handguns carried with hunting equipment if packed in the same case as hunting rifles.

Rifles (in gun case / rifle bags)

Rifles must be processed via the firearm desk for safe carriage and may form part of your free baggage allowance. Thereafter the excess baggage allowance will be raised as applicable.


A maximum of 5kg securely boxed ammunition per passenger will be permitted for carriage as a separate piece of baggage.


Upon arrival passengers are required to proceed to the allocated firearm desk to collect firearms.

Ammunition handed in separately may be collected at the firearm desk.

International (All SAA flights departing from outside the Republic of South Africa, arriving in South Africa)

Standard legislation pertaining to the carriage of weapons and ammunition for each destination will apply. It is therefore the travellerโ€™s responsibility to verify and ensure compliance with local laws on the possession and carriage of weapons.


Passengers should not pack any firearms within checked baggage. Firearms must be packed in suitable lockable firearm cases or bags.

Where possible, declare firearms and request the airline to place a firearm identification tag on such items, as this will assist in the correct loading and delivery handling on SAA flights arriving in South Africa.

Where passengers originate their journey on South African Airways, we request that you declare the firearms and ammunition to check-in staff for appropriate handling and labelling.

DO NOT pack ammunition loosely in checked baggage.


Upon arrival in South Africa, all declared or identified firearms may be collected directly from the firearm office just after immigration. Any firearms either not declared upon departure, or not identified by an appropriate label will be delivered to the normal baggage carousal for collection.

You are required to proceed to the SA Police Firearm Office, where all necessary import permits and other documentation will be finalised.

Passengers with onward domestic flights:
Passengers with onward domestic flights must clear firearms and ammunition at the SA Police firearm office before proceeding through customs and will then be required to follow the process as described for Domestic flights above for onward and return journeys.

Passengers with onward international flights:
Passengers with onward international flights may have their firearms and ammunition through checked to the final destination. Do however note that such firearms and ammunition may be blocked by airport baggage screening staff for inspection, which will require the airline to page each passenger to proceed to a designated baggage reconciliation area, where you will be required to open any bags containing ammunition for inspection.

We urge passengers to declare baggage containing ammunition to the SAA handling agents at the point where you originally join SAA flights to avoid delays during the transfer process.

Passengers with onward international flights who have not through checked firearms and ammunition will be required to clear all firearms and ammunition through the SA Police firearm office, before proceeding to International check-in for onward connection check-in. The requirements for domestic flight departures as documented above will apply to all firearms and ammunition carried in this manner.

General information and assistance:

Strict legislation on the carriage / importation of hand held firearms exist in almost all countries and heavy fines could be imposed on the passenger and the carrier should such items be landed without the necessary documentation (e.g. import permits / license etc.) It is the RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PASSENGER to consult with the local consulate of the country to which he / she will be traveling (including transit / stopovers where applicable) to establish and comply with all entry requirements of the countries concerned.

RSA citizens and residents require RSA firearm license. Visitors require a Temporary Import Permit. Temporary import permits will only be issued for foreign hunters and participants in an organized sport shooting event. Temporary import permits can be obtained:

  • On arrival at the SA Police Firearm Office situated after immigration, or;
  • At least four weeks before arrival in RSA from;

The Registrar
Private bag X 811,
Pretoria, 0001,
Republic of South Africa.


Please contact PHASA to obtain your temporary import or In0transit permit in advance:

Ms Tersia Du Plooy: CONTACT

South African Airways & Mango codeshare between Cape Town and Durban

Important information to note when travelling on the Mango codeshare flights:

  • Firearms will no longer be accepted for travel on this route. This is a requirement of the operating carrier Mango

Carriage of Firearms on the services of Airlink and SA Express

Important information received from SA Airlink regarding Sport Equipment:

The following important Need-to-Knows about Sport Equipment has been received from SA Airlink and members are urged to take note of this.

Sporting Equipment
Sportsmen or women travelling individually or in groups will be permitted to include their sporting equipment in the free baggage allowance applicable to the class in which they will travel. The airline will not accept liability for damage to such articles if they are not suitably packed. Sporting equipment in excess of the applicable free baggage allowance will be charged in accordance with the current baggage policy.

The Sporting equipment classified below will attract an additional Free Baggage Allowance of 15kg per passenger. To ensure acceptance of such at the airport, a facility is offered whereby this may be pre-booked as a Special Service Requirement in respect of Sports Equipment (SSR SPEQ) through your travel agent or through the AIRLINK Reservations Help-Desk on Tel + 27 11 451 7350. (The additional free 20kgs for sporting equipment is valid on South African Airways flights only)

  • Scuba diving equipment. Diving cylinders must be empty and hung upside down with the valve open for 24 hours prior to departure.
  • Cricket equipment. (Restricted to 1 Cricket Coffin per passenger on Airlink Flights)
  • (Exception – on Aircraft Type J41 only allow maximum of 4 Cricket Coffins per flight)
  • Polo Mallets and Hockey Sticks.
  • Hiking equipment.
  • Bowling woods/equipment.
  • Snow or Water Skis provided such does not exceed does not exceed 2m in length.
  • Surf or Kite Boards provided such does not exceed 2m in length.
  • Hunting equipment / trophies.
  • Golfing equipment. (Restricted to 1 Golf Bag per passenger on Airlink Flights)
  • (Exception – on Aircraft Type J41 only allow maximum of 4 Golf Bags per flight)
  • Bicycle. (Restricted to 2 Bicycles on Airlink Flights)
  • Angling equipment – fishing rods must be packed in protective cylinders not exceeding 2m in length.

N.B Sporting Equipment NOT specified above must be included in your free baggage allowance; if the free baggage allowance is exceeded the normal applicable excess baggage rate will apply.

Firearms and Ammunition (Subject to arrangement with Airlink prior to departure)
A maximum weight of 5kg of ammunition may be transported. 

Updated: 5 September 2014:

Hunting rifles, shotguns and hunting handguns may be transported as checked baggage but only to and from the following destinations: 
•    Antananarivo, Madagaskar
•    Beira, Mozambique
•    Bloemfontein
•    Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
•    Cape Town
•    Durban
•    East London
•    Gabarone, Botswana
•    Harare, Zimbabwe
•    Kimberley (Approximately ZAR200 for loading and ZAR200 off loading per hunting rifle and shotgun) no fee to be paid for service at CPT, only in KIM
•    Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, Nelspruit
•    Lusaka, Zambia
•    Manzini, Swaziland
•    Maputo, Mozambique
•    Maseru, Lesotho
•    Maun, Botswana
•    Mthatha, Eastern Cape
•    Nampula, Mozambique
•    Ndola, Zambia
•    OR Tambo International, Johannesburg
•    Pemba, Mozambique
•    Phalaborwa
•    Pietermaritzburg
•    Polokwane
•    Port Elizabeth
•    Richards Bay
•    Tete, Mozambique
•    Upington

Passengers should also check on carrier policies as information might change without prior notice.

Rifles and shotguns will not be accepted as Checked Baggage, unless approved no less than three (3) working days before your flight through AIRLINK Reservations Control Tel +27 11 451 7350. Rifles must be unloaded with the safety catch on, and suitably packed and accompanied by all documents legally required by the countries of departure, destination and any stopovers. Only five (5) kilogram of ammunition is allowed per Passenger. Ammunition will never be carried in the cabin or flight deck of the aircraft. Ammunition must be packed separately and securely from the fire-arm case.

Weapons such as, antique firearms, swords, knives, toy or replica guns, bows and arrows and similar items may be accepted as Checked Baggage only at the airline’s discretion, subject to prior approval and will not be permitted in the cabin or flight deck of the aircraft.

AIRLINK will have no liability or responsibility where any item accepted is removed from Checked Baggage and/or retained or destroyed by security personnel, government officials, airport officials, police or military officials or other airlines involved in the carriage of a Passenger.

Sa Airlink website –

Airlink, to, commence, Cape, Town, Windhoek, flights, 6, October, 2014:

Airlink is pleased to announce that it will be re-introducing the SAA code to scheduled flights operating between Cape Town International and Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport on Monday 6 October 2014.

Airlink will offer a twice daily return service to Windhoek with morning flights departing Cape Town at 06:45 arr Windhoek at 08:50, then departing Windhoek at 09:20 arriving Cape Town at 11:25. Afternoon flights depart Cape Town at 15:00 arriving Windhoek 17:05 returning from Windhoek at 18:00 arriving Cape Town at 20:05. These flights operate Monday to Friday with a further morning service on Saturdays and an afternoon service on Sundays.  Flights operate on 37 seat Embraer 135 Regional Jet Aircraft.

The re-introduction of flights on this route is exciting for Airlink as it has in the past operated this route very successfully, providing a same day return service for businessman as well as connecting flights for international visitors.

The timing of the flights also accommodate the leisure self drive market visiting Etosha National Park in northwestern Nambia and the Sossusvlei located in the southern part of the Namib desert amongst others.

Through our alliance with SAA, consumers can enjoy convenient connections with SAA, their Star Alliance Partner airlines and other carriers throughout Southern Africa and the world and earn double voyager miles from 6 October 2014 to 30 November 2014, terms and conditions apply.

With more than 21 years of customer focused experience along with the widest network and choice of flights, you get where you want to be, when you want to be there.

Book direct on or contact your booking agent or SAA Central Reservations.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has grounded the state-owned carrier SA Express with immediate effect, says the government agency.

SACAA has also suspended certificates of airworthiness for nine of 21 of SA Express’s aircraft. It means the carrier can no longer operate as an airline.

The agency said on Thursday SA Express would have to reapply and be issued with an air operating certificate and an approval for the aircraft maintenance organisation and certificates of airworthiness for the grounded aircraft.

Please contact the airline for more details

For Emirates Passengers Flying with Firearms:

  1. You will need to complete the “Emirates Airlines Details of Weapons” form.
  2. On the form, the PNR/RLOC number is the same as the airline confirmation located in your airline itinerary.
  3. Attach copies of the following supporting documents:
    (South Africa requires the originals of B., C., and D.)
    A.)    your airline itinerary;
    B.)    your Letter of Invitation from Antelope for Africa Safaris;
    C.)    U.S. Customs Form 4457 (this serves as proof of ownership);
    D.)    Affidavit of Firearm Ownership.

Emirates Airlines requires the above documents no less than 10 working days prior to your departure date.
These documents can be emailed OR mailed directly to:

Emirates Airlines
1415 Kellum Place
Garden City, New York  11530

Emirates Customer Call Center:

United Airlines recently made a temporary change to their policy regarding the acceptance of firearms for interline transfer to other carriers.   With the peak hunt season now upon us, South African Airways realizes the importance of making this process seamless. South African Airways has worked with United Airlines to resolve this matter and we would like to advise you that UA is now accepting firearms and ammunition for interline transfer to SAA.

To facilitate the transfer of the weapons, it is important that you advise your clients that they should mention to the SAA check-in agent at our gateways that they have firearms and ammunitions as part of their through checked luggage.   This will enable SAA to double check that the firearms and ammunition have been received from the delivering carrier and are loaded onto the transatlantic flight.   This additional check will assist in the successful transfer of these valuable goods.

Thank you for your continued support of South African Airways and we look forward to further developing our business to achieve mutual success for our companies.  If you have any questions, please contact your SAA Director, Sales Development or Inside Sales Representative.

Issued by: South African Airways – 14 May 2012

South African Airways
515 East Las Olas Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, Fl, 33301.
Tel: (877) 722-7477

Transiting With Firearms In Amsterdam, Netherlands

When passing through the Netherlands while carrying rifles, weapons or ammunition, it is mandatory to file a consent application form with the Dutch Customs Department.

Please access these links for the NEW Dutch Consent Application Forms needed for the permit:
Consent form
Consent form – annexure

Email the forms to the following email
We recommend that you follow the submission up by contacting their offices on Tel 0031 45 5743031

PLEASE NOTE: On their new consent form there is  “VICE VERSA” fileld – If you check this filed you will get a permit for transitting both ways through Amsterdam.

    – *NEW* The Dutch authorities are now requesting a letter of invitation to hunt from your outfitter. Ask your outfitter to send you a signed letter on headed paper to the effect of where you will be hunting, for how long and with his contact details. This is similar to the letter of motivation/invitation required for a temporary firearms permit in South Africa. Fax this letter to the Dutch Customs Office with your consent forms application.
    – Make a copy of your passport photo & details page
    – Make a copy of a document proving your ownership of the firearm(s). This can be in the form of the US Customs Form 4457 (Registration of Personal Affects Taken Abroad) OR a letter from your local sheriff OR a your Firearms Certificate or Permit
  • Make this application well in advance of your travel and also allow plenty of time for the application to be processed.

For further information or queries on transiting with firearms in the Netherlands, telephone the Dutch Customs Office at Groningen: 011-31-88-151-2122.

A Warning To Hunters Connecting From Flights with Delta Airlines

(posted October 26, 2012 – The Hunting Report)

Delta Airlines has announced a “clarification” on their baggage check policies that will likely affect many hunters, especially those flying to Johannesburg and connecting on other airlines to a final destination elsewhere in Africa. The policy goes into effect on January 15, 2013. Basically, Delta will not check through any baggage when the connecting flight is booked on a separate ticket. In other words, if you book a flight to Joburg on Delta on one ticket and a flight on South African Airways to Harare on a separate ticket, Delta will not check your bag through to Harare. But if both flights are booked on a single ticket then Delta will check your bags through.

What this means for travelers booking separate tickets is that they will have to claim their bags at their connecting destination and recheck them with the second airline to their final destination. In Johannesburg, that means you will have to clear Immigration and Customs and go through the firearms importation process before checking in with your second airline. Hunters who must do that will find it necessary to add more time between flights to complete the process in time. (The usual two-and-half hours will not be sufficient, especially at the peak of the safari season when up to 70 hunters may be in line to clear firearms.) The same complication will occur at any other connecting destination, so make sure you are not making such a connection in a country that will not allow you to enter with a firearm in this manner.

Note that this is different from the new policies of American and United Airlines, in which they will not transfer firearms to ANY second carrier, no matter how your flights are ticketed (The only exception is on connections from United to South African Airways and only because of intervention from SAA).

In the past, Delta has agreed to check through baggage to final destinations even when travel has been booked on separate tickets. But according to a notice distributed to travel agents yesterday, October 25, Delta will no longer do this. The alternative, of course, is to book all your travel on one ticket, but that typically means more expensive rates. Also, many frequent flyers often book international travel on separate tickets in order to use their free miles, and those travelers need to be very careful how they book their flights now when traveling with firearms. We are indebted to Turner for giving us the heads up on this situation.

Please be advised that with effect from 1 March 2013, Comair will no longer be accepting firearms for carriage on any domestic or regional flight operated by both the British Airways and kulula brands.This includes all hunting rifles, or any weapon requiring special handling, that may not be carried as either hand luggage or checked baggage.

Passengers who hold bookings on any BA/Comair or kulula flight after this date will need to make alternative flight bookings. Please note, this information only applies to southern African flights anddoes not apply to British Airways international flights between London and South Africa.

Further news:

We were informed by BA/Comair that all efforts from BA/Comair’s side to reduce the cost in the short/medium term were unsuccessful.  BA/Comair has therefore made a decision to terminate firearm handling on 31 March 2013.

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