A formation flight by Qantas and Emirates Airbus A380s over Sydney Harbour on Sunday has marked the formal commencement of the two airlines’ ground breaking alliance partnership.
A Qantas and an Emirates A380 (VH-OQJ and A6-EDY) flew over the harbour at about 1,500ft at about 10.30am. Qantas says it was the first time two airline operated A380s will have flown in formation, and that the flight is “believed” to be the first time two different airlines have flown in formation together.
“There has been a huge amount of planning which has been necessary to make this possible including seeking approval from safety regulators in both Australia and the United Arab Emirates,” Qantas chief pilot Captain Philip Green said.
“Pilots from both airlines have conducted dozens of special simulator training sessions since January this year. Emirates pilots came to Australia earlier this month to conduct joint sessions in Qantas’s A380 simulator in Sydney and conducted several more practice runs over the past few days.”
The aircraft used the callsign ‘Seismic’ for the flight, as Emirates president Tim Clark has said the alliance between the two airlines “will cause a seismic shift in global aviation”.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the formation flight involved 520 hours of planning and seven, four-hour simulation sessions involving pilots from both airlines – “a huge amount of effort for just those few minutes in the air. I think that is a microcosm of the type of planning and the type of work that has gone into the entire alliance.”
The inaugural QF1 to London via Dubai was due to depart Sydney Sunday afternoon.