Qantas has set a business record by flying a one-way flight directly from Buenos Aires to Darwin in the Northern Territory.
The flight repatriated 107 Australians and set two Qantas records in the process: longest distance traveled (15,020 km) and longest time in the air for a commercial flight (17 hours and 25 minutes).
Before the pandemic, Qantas’ longest direct passenger flights connected London and Perth, which came in “just” 14,498 km and 16 hours and 45 minutes.
“Qantas has always taken up a challenge, especially when it comes to long-haul travel, and this flight is an excellent example of our flight planning team’s capabilities and attention to detail,” said Captain Alex Passerini, one of the four pilots who assisted the aircraft. it in a statement.
He notes one more achievement: “There were some really spectacular prospects as we tracked over Antarctica.”
The flight, QF14, was on a Boeing 787-9 named “Great Barrier Reef.”
The plane left Argentina at 12.44 local time on Tuesday 5 October and then flew south, crossed Antarctica and arrived in Darwin at 18.39 local time on Wednesday 6 October. The trip was completely in daylight.
The flight from the capital of Argentina to the NT is not the only one that set a record due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In March 2021, Air Tahiti Nui flew the longest planned passenger plane ever in the distance – transporting 15,715 kilometers worldwide from Papeete, in Tahiti, French Polynesia, to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.
Normally, this route passes over the United States and includes a stopover in Los Angeles.
Because U.S. aviation regulations require travelers traveling through the country to go through U.S. customs, the strict coronavirus protocols meant it was too much trouble for the plane to stop.
Instead, Air Tahiti Nui chose to have the flight push right through and clock in at about 16 hours in the sky.
Aviation geeks who might want to take part in the flight themselves, however, are likely to be unsuccessful.
It told a representative of Air Tahiti Nui CNN that the direct route “was operated on an unusual basis.”