Australian airline Qantas is operating an unusual one-off direct flight from Brisbane, Queensland to St Lucia so that the Australian cricket team can take part in a tour of the West Indies for a five-match T20I series. It will be the first time the team have visited the Caribbean in five years and only the third overseas tour for the team since the start of the pandemic.
While Cricket Australia might normally send its players and support staff on regularly scheduled commercial flights to attend these kinds of international tours, current COVID-19 travel restrictions and quarantine rules make it easier just to charter an entire plane.
Qantas has been called in to transport the team and their entourage on a two-year-old Boeing 787 Dreamliner for the 10,000-mile flight which should take around 16-hours. The flight flew across the vast emptiness of the South Pacific Ocean, before crossing South America and into the Caribbean.
Although unusual, Qantas flight QF6079 isn’t any longer than some of the airline’s pre-pandemic regularly scheduled flights – helped a little by strong tailwinds.
When Qantas started a direct service from Perth to London it allowed 17-hours to complete what was just a 9,009-mile flight and the flight back to Australia could sometimes be completed in around 16 hours and 20 minutes.
Although that flight is no longer operating because of the pandemic, Qantas has been operating some repatriation flights from London to a special quarantine facility in Darwin, in the Northern Territory. But again, these flights have been clocking in at around 16-hours.
Qantas, however, has its sights set on even longer flights once the pandemic passes with plans to operate direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York. Flight times will be a staggering 20 hours one-way and the airline will have to order new Airbus A350 aircraft to make the flights profitable.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.