Friday, September 18, 2020

Qantas’ Flight To Nowhere: Not Environmentally Friendly?

After just earning the reputation as the fastest selling flight in history, is Qantas’ “Flight To Nowhere” quite unfriendly to our embattled environment?

By: Ringo Bones

According to the Australian flag carrier’s spokesperson, the recently offered Flight To Nowhere by Qantas has just earned the reputation of one of the airline company’s fastest selling flight in history after all the tickets on offer have been snapped up in just 10 minutes. There were 134 seats up for grabs on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner priced between $575 (£445) and $2,765 (£2,145) depending on the class of ticket. The 7-hour flight is scheduled for October 10, 2020 and takes off from Sydney and returns to Sydney after overflying scenic routes that includes the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru – formerly known as Ayer’s Rock. There are also 13-hour flights that will take-off from Melbourne to Antarctica and back again for £636. Singapore Airlines already has plans for such a similar scheme scheduled for next month.

The popularity of such trips and the reason why the cheaper 7-hour “Flight To Nowhere” got snapped up in just 10 minutes is in part due to the fact that Australia’s borders are currently closed to all inbound travelers bar Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Outbound travel is also prohibited unless citizens are granted an exemption. Qantas has previously states it does not expect to be flying any international routes before the second half of 2021, except possibly to New Zealand. The airline’s revelation about their upcoming international services suggests that Australia will not open to visitors for the rest of this year nor the first half of 2021.

Sadly, such moves are criticized by environmental groups because it is such a carbon-intensive way for Australia to keep its domestic tourism industry up and running and given the size of the windows in a typical Boeing 787 Dreamliner means that these planes are not purposely built as airborne sight-seeing planes. I think the only few positive benefits of such flights is that pilots lacking a few hours of flight experience could gain full professional status by serving in such flights and given that jet engines need a minimum of once every two weeks of firing to maintain their air-worthy status might only be achieved via Qantas’ Flight To Nowhere program amidst the global COVID-19 Travel Restrictions.

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