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

Sydney/Singapore, September 17

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

Tough border restrictions to maintain the coronavirus beneath management have led to a 97.5% plunge in worldwide journey within the area, in accordance with 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 provided particular sightseeing flights.

The Qantas flight, in a Boeing Co 787 sometimes 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 value between A$787 and A$3,787 ($575 and $2,765) relying on the seating class and the 134 accessible seats have been rapidly snapped up, a Qantas spokeswoman stated on Thursday.

“It’s probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history,” she stated. “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 every of its iconic Hello Kitty livery planes for a particular father’s day flight final month, whereas ANA used an Airbus SE A380 that often 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 may circle over South Korea’s Jeju Island reportedly offered out in 4 minutes. The value 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, stated she signed up for the flight as a result of the voucher made it a superb deal and he or she 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 informed Reuters.

All of the international locations the place the flights are on supply have comparatively low numbers of COVID-19 instances by international 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 be eyeing scenic flights from subsequent month, the nation’s Straits Times newspaper reported on Sunday, an concept that obtained 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,” stated consciousness group SG Climate Rally.

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

Qantas stated it will 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 just isn’t 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 individuals on board. Reuters

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