Qantas is set to launch a special 787 flight to view the upcoming supermoon on 26 May, following the success of its previous ‘concept’ flights.
The flag carrier will charge $499 for economy, $899 for premium economy and $1,499 for business for the trip that will depart from Sydney and go on sale on Wednesday, 12 May.
Qantas chose the 787 Dreamliner because it has the largest windows in its fleet, and the schedule was designed in collaboration with CSIRO astronomer Dr Vanessa Moss who worked to ensure passengers would have the optimum flight path.
The three-hour flight will depart from the NSW capital with a scenic flyover of Sydney Harbour before climbing above any potential cloud cover and atmosphere pollution to an altitude of 43,000 feet.
The moon will be at its closest point (or perigee) coming within 357,311 kilometres of Earth at 11:50am AEST.
The supermoon will uniquely also coincide with a total lunar eclipse at 9:11pm and 9:25pm AEST, when the moon is 357,462 kilometres from Earth.
A supermoon occurs when a full moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit, making it appear larger and brighter.
The moon has a slight “eccentricity” in its orbit meaning it can sometimes be nearer or further away – varying between 360,000 and 400,000 kilometres from Earth.
Sometimes, this phenomenon can coincide with a lunar eclipse, known as a “super blood moon”. That last took place in January 2019.
During a lunar eclipse, the sun, Earth and moon are in perfect alignment, but with a little light reaching the Moon from around the edges of the Earth.
Chief customer officer Stephanie Tully said, “We think this flight has great appeal for anyone with a passion for astronomy, science, space photography, aviation or just keen to do something a little ‘out of this world’.
“We have been absolutely overwhelmed with the popularity of our special flights. The recent mystery flights sold out within 15 minutes with hundreds of people on waiting lists and they keep telling us they want more.”
Qantas’ initial ‘flight to nowhere’ toured Australia on 12 October 2020 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 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.
Australian Aviation can reveal the mystery flights were: An 737-838, VH-VZU msn 34187, which departed Brisbane at 8:56am on 27 March as flight QF1255 and landed in Orange at 11:38am; a 737-838, VH-VZX msn 34188, which departed Sydney at 8:43am as flight QF1254 on 18 April and landed in Hamilton Island at 11:09am; and a Boeing 737-838, VH-VZU msn 34187, departed Melbourne at 8:52am as flight QF1251 on 1 May and landed in Launceston at 9:44am.