Qantas has made history while bringing more than 100 Australians home, flying for more than 17 hours straight from Buenos Aires to Darwin.
The repatriation flight spent 15,020km in the air, and took 17 hours and 25 minutes, during which the 107 Australians returning home and four pilots were treated to views of Antarctica on their way home.
It’s more than 500km longer than the non-stop London to Perth flight that was Qantas’s previous longest non-stop flight.
The flight also marked a milestone for Darwin, which became the first airport in Australia to receive non-stop flights from all six permanently inhabited continents.
Captain Alex Passerini said he was proud to be a part of Qantas’s ultra-long-haul flights.
“Qantas has always stepped up to a challenge, especially when it comes to long-haul travel, and this flight is an excellent example of the capabilities and attention to detail of our flight planning team,” he said.
“There were some truly spectacular views as we tracked across Antarctica, which was an extra bonus for our passengers who were very glad to be coming home.”
Darwin is tipped to remain an important airport for Qantas, who is considering re-routing the London-Perth flight in favour of London-Darwin due to Western Australia’s strict border.
The repatriated Australians touched down just after 6.30pm on Wednesday and were transported to Howard Springs for two weeks of quarantine.
Qantas is tipped to resume flights between Australia and some international destinations from November 14 for eligible customers.
The airline says it is working closely with the Australian government to support Covid-safe international travel.
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