Qantas flies a massive 14,673-kilometer flight from Buenos Aires to Darwin.
A Qantas Dreamliner flies today from Buenos Aires to Darwin, an odyssey of 14,673 kilometers that will take around 18 hours. The flight enters the record books as Qantas' longest commercial flight.
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The Great Barrier Reef VHZNH took off from Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport on Tuesday at 12:28 p.m. local time. At press time, the Boeing is roughly mid-flight, orbiting the Antarctic continent at more than 37,000 feet.
The flight is slightly longer than the PerthLondon marathon flights that Qantas operated until 2020, when international flights were suspended. However, it is shorter than the occasional nonstop hop between London and Sydney that Qantas previously flew. But these London-Sydney flights did not carry paying passengers. Today's flight to Darwin does.
But this is not a regular flight. It is another of many return flights that Qantas operates on behalf of the Australian government to bring stranded Australians home. Almost eighteen months after the border closes, the saga continues.
Australians who pay are on board. The Australian Department of State and Commerce chose some who were in a desperate situation to fly. Others bought tickets as normal and had to go to EZE to fly on Tuesday.
Flight is interesting for several reasons. It's a long flight that will push the Dreamliner to its limits. The trip flies over a part of the world that rarely sees airplanes. Finally, the arrival of the flight to Darwin catapults this small airport into a territory full of halos.
According to a Wednesday morning report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), with the arrival of QF14 tonight, Darwin will join three other airports that have once received nonstop flights from all six populated continents. These other airports are Doha, Dubai, and London.
"As is the geography of the earth, nonstop flights from every continent in the world are exceptionally rare," an aviation analyst told ABC.
The flight to Buenos Aires went largely unnoticed, but it was also an interesting attempt by Qantas. It didn't fly as far south as today's flight, but the 12,343-kilometer flight was likely the first time a Brisbane-Buenos Aires airline flew nonstop.
The Dreamliner took off from Brisbane on Sunday morning and headed south at 57 degrees. The flight time was 12 and a half hours, and due to the date line, the flight landed in Buenos Aires on Sunday morning.
Today's flight reached 75 degrees south. At press time, the Dreamliner is circling the Antarctic coast (well) north of McMurdo Station. The aircraft is gradually turning north and will position itself for flight over the Southern Ocean to Australia.
As soon as the plane leaves Antarctica, the next sight on the ground will be Kangaroo Island, south of Adelaide. There is only a large amount of very cold water between these two points. After crossing Kangaroo Island later on Wednesday, the flight will fly north over the Australian mainland towards Darwin. Not many flights can have ice and deserts in one day.
QF14 is scheduled to land in Darwin on Wednesday around 7:00 p.m. After so long in the air, the passengers are directly wrapped in 14 days of quarantine.
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