Travellers snap up Asian airways’ scenic ‘flights to nowhere’

Sydney/Singapore, September 17

Qantas Airways Ltd mentioned a seven-hour scenic flight over Australia’s Outback and Great Barrier Reef had bought out in 10 minutes, because it joined a rising development in Asia providing “flights to nowhere” that take off and land on the similar airport.

Tough border restrictions to maintain the coronavirus beneath management have led to a 97.5% plunge in worldwide journey within the area, based on the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.

Many frequent flyers miss getting on planes and airways together with Taiwan’s EVA Airways Corp and Japan’s ANA Holdings Inc, determined for income and to maintain their pilots’ licences present, have supplied particular sightseeing flights.

The Qantas flight, in a Boeing Co 787 usually used for long-haul worldwide journeys, will fly at low ranges over Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Harbour earlier than touchdown again in Sydney.

Tickets price between A$787 and A$3,787 ($575 and $2,765) relying on the seating class and the 134 accessible seats have been shortly snapped up, a Qantas spokeswoman mentioned on Thursday.

“It’s probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history,” she mentioned. “People clearly miss travel and the experience of flying. If the demand is there, we’ll definitely look at doing more of these scenic flights while we all wait for borders to open.”

Taiwan’s EVA used one in all its iconic Hello Kitty livery planes for a particular father’s day flight final month, whereas ANA used an Airbus SE A380 that normally flies to Honolulu for a 90-minute flight with a Hawaiian expertise on board.

Tickets costing $6,888 Taiwan {dollars} ($236) for a Tigerair Taiwan flight from Taipei that can circle over South Korea’s Jeju Island reportedly bought out in 4 minutes. The worth features a one-year voucher for round-trip tickets from Taiwan to Korea, which can be utilized after COVID-19 journey bans are lifted.

Chen Shu Tze, 44, an engineer from Taipei, mentioned she signed up for the flight as a result of the voucher made it a great deal and she or he missed having the ability to journey – particularly to South Korea, a favorite vacation spot.

“The pandemic has a devasting impact on the tourism and airline industry, so I want to help boost the economy, and I miss flying,” she instructed Reuters.

All of the nations the place the flights are on provide have comparatively low numbers of COVID-19 circumstances by world requirements.

Among different airline stunts, Thai Airways International PCL this month opened a pop-up restaurant on the bottom, providing in-flight meals served from airline seats to would-be travellers.


Singapore Airlines Ltd can also be eyeing scenic flights from subsequent month, the nation’s Straits Times newspaper reported on Sunday, an concept that acquired widespread criticism from environmentalists and on-line commenters.

“First, it encourages carbon-intensive travel for no good reason and second, it is merely a stop-gap measure that distracts from the policy and value shifts necessary to mitigate the climate crisis,” mentioned consciousness group SG Climate Rally.

Singapore Airlines mentioned it’s contemplating a number of initiatives however no ultimate resolution has been made on whether or not to supply sightseeing flights.

Qantas mentioned it could pay to offset the carbon emissions on its scenic flight from Sydney, although on-line critics famous that will not truly scale back emissions.

The idea of scenic flights shouldn’t be new. Antarctica Flights has chartered Qantas jets for scenic flights over Antarctica for 26 years. An Air New Zealand Ltd sightseeing flight over Antarctica in 1979 crashed into Mount Erebus, killing all 257 folks on board. Reuters

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