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Qantas flight to nowhere passes Bondi, Barrier Reef and Uluru

written by Adam Thorn | October 12, 2020
View from window Flight to Nowhere Qantas
The view from the window during Qantas’ so-called flight to nowhere (Qantas)

Qantas’ ‘flight to nowhere’ toured Australia on Saturday with Captain Alex Passerini dipping as low as 4,000 feet as he flew past landmarks such as the Great Barrier Reef, over the Whitsundays and Uluru.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, VH-ZND msn 63390, departed Sydney at 10:43am on 12 October for the sold-out, eight-and-a-half-hour journey.

The ‘Great Southern Land’ scenic flight initially flew up the NSW coast before crossing the Queensland border for a flyby of the Gold Coast and then up the Queensland coast to the Great Barrier Reef.

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The 787-9, which features the biggest windows on Qantas’ fleet, then tracked across Australia to conduct low-level fly-bys of Uluru and Kata Tjuta before turning back to Sydney for a flyover of Sydney Harbour and Bondi Beach. Flight QF787 finally landed 7:09pm.

Along the way, passengers heard two ground-to-air satellite phone calls over the PA from local experts talking about the history of both the Whitsundays and Uluru. They also saw a cheeky message scrawled on the beach of Coolum Beach by Visit Sunshine Coast.

The airline earlier said the flight sold out within 10 minutes with ticket prices for the 150 seats ranging from $787 for economy to $3,787 each for business class.

Captain Passerini said prior to the departure, “We will angle the aircraft so that passengers on both sides get a great view, in particular of Uluru after we were granted special permission for the flyover. It’s going to be a really special day and we are excited to be back in the air again.”

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Qantas also revealed the flight would offset carbon emissions and didn’t rule out putting on further special flights for passengers.

The flight follows a recent trend worldwide of airlines launching flights to nowhere.

World of Aviation has previously reported how EVA Air operates a scenic sortie over the East China Sea, circling Japan’s Ryukyu Islands before returning to Taipei, while rumours persist Singapore Airlines is planning a similar initiative.

The flight also had the effect of highlighting Australia’s domestic border closures.

In September, Australian Aviation revealed that 40,000 people have now signed a Qantas petition urging states to open their borders.

The petition, which the airline has urged all its employees to sign, argues curtailing movement across states should be “risk-assessed” against an agreed definition of a COVID-19 hotspot.

The campaign launched alongside Qantas sending targeted letters to MPs in states it said did not agree to a road map out of “hard border regimes” during the last national cabinet meeting.

One passage of the correspondence read, “Arbitrary border restrictions are having a profound economic and social cost to communities, businesses, supply chains and jobs in Queensland.

“I ask that you closely consider these implications for the welfare and economic wellbeing of your community and join the call for a rational, harmonised approach to border management guided by the best medical advice.”

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4 Comments

  • Lee

    says:

    Nothing to see in Victoria.

  • Steve A

    says:

    Yes we know that they are having a profound affect on Qantas profits, but people dying is first priority at all times.
    And Mr Joyce has had 12 years at the top of Qantas and received $100 million for doing it, but the combined losses at QF during his 12 years is $1 billion, so don’t blame that on COVID-19, just time for him to finally do the right thing.

  • Gordon Mackinlay

    says:

    Uluru is the official title of the National Park, the rock monolith is officially called Ayers Rock. A quick look at the aviation chart will so tell you!

  • Jabiru Joe

    says:

    Not sure on that point of naming Gordon. Mine says the aerodrome is called Ayres Rock/Conellan whilst the rock itself is Uluru/Ayres Rock. So either name would be correct if refering to CASA charts is the go to. In any case I don’t think it would start a war.

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