Qantas has announced it will launch more scenic flights touring Australia, starting with a trip to Uluru that will include an overnight stay at five-star hotel.
The airline will effectively operate as a travel agent, and is partnering with Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia on the first flight that will sell for $4,000 for the business classic option.
It follows the success of the Qantas’ ‘Great Southern Land’ scenic flight, which sold out in 10 minutes and toured Australia’s east coast on 12 October.
The first “flight to somewhere” will take 110 passengers on a 737 from Sydney to Uluru on 5 December and the “overnight outing” will include a pre-flight lounge champagne breakfast, low-level fly-bys of Sydney Harbour on departure and low-level circuits allowing passengers a bird’s eye view of Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
Customers, who will pay $3,999 for business and $2,499 for economy, will stay at the Sails in the Desert hotel and experience a “hands-on Indigenous art workshop”, “dinner under the stars” as well as a guided walk to the Muṯitjulu Waterhole and a visit to neighbouring Kata Tjuta.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the business was overwhelmed with the response to its first scenic flight.
“It sold out in 10 minutes and the feedback from people on board was fantastic,” Joyce said. “Even the most frequent flyers said they had never experienced Australia from the air quite like that. And our crew loved being back on board.
“Now that more borders are starting to open, we’re partnering with tourism operators on the ground to offer special flights to special destinations. Even though seats are limited, we think the awareness generated by these flights is a great way to get more people thinking about where they might holiday as we head towards summer.”
Australian Aviation previous reported how the first ‘flight to nowhere’ toured Australia on 12 October 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 ‘Great Southern Land’ scenic flight initially flew up the NSW coast before crossing the Queensland border for a fly-by of the Gold Coast and then up the Queensland coast to the Great Barrier Reef.
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 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.
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.