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Qantas Operates its Longest Ever Commercial Flight Across Antarctica from South America

Qantas Operates its Longest Ever Commercial Flight Across Antarctica from South America

Qantas is operating its longest-ever commercial flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory to repatriate Australian citizens stuck in South America due to the country’s strict border rules.

At a distance of around 9,124 miles, this is the longest commercial passenger service ever operated by Qantas. Flight QF14 will take around 18 hours to complete its journey but that’s over an hour less than the longest-ever Qantas flight.

That honour goes to a special Qantas flight which flew from New York to City in October 2019 as part of a special research flight to test the airline’s ultra-long-haul business strategy, dubbed Project Sunrise.

Less than 50 passengers were onboard that flight and they weren’t fare-paying so QF14 is still a record-breaking service for Qantas.

The flight is longer on the way back to Australia because the outbound flight departed from Brisbane. The return flight, however, has to go to Darwin so that the passengers can be housed in a special quarantine camp for two weeks.

“It’s cold -75C Greetings fm Antartica Over the Walker Ranges Def no polar bears All going well Cheers fm QF14 Damien and Alex on deck,” the airline tweeted of text communication sent from the flight deck of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Qantas doesn’t have WiFi installed on its 787 Dreamliners (and even if it did, there is no satellite coverage for most of the route from Argentina) so pilots have to rely on a text-based system known as ACARS – Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System.

“Antarctica behind us Absolutely spectacular Great Southern Land next Cheers from Crew QF14,” the pilots shared via ACARS around three hours later.

Although a record-breaker for Qantas, the world’s longest-flight is still operated by Singapore Airlines which operates a daily 10,376-mile service from Singapore to New York JFK. The flight time is a bum numbing 18 hours an 40 minutes.

View Comments (2)
  • Interesting thanks for sharing. I assume they mean the polar bear part as a joke since polar bears don’t live in the antarctic.

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