Home >News >World >Qantas ‘full-day’ flight to nowhere takes off to battle slump
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Qantas planes are seen at Kingsford Smith International Airport in Sydney, Australia, March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo/File Photo/File Photo/File Photo (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Qantas planes are seen at Kingsford Smith International Airport in Sydney, Australia, March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo/File Photo/File Photo/File Photo (REUTERS)

Qantas ‘full-day’ flight to nowhere takes off to battle slump

  • The aircraft will drop to 4,000 feet at some points during the trip for a better view, compared with 35,000 feet normally
  • Airlines and tourism operators are grappling with a dramatic plunge in passenger traffic as a result of border closures, quarantine measures and curbs on movement

Qantas Airways Ltd. launched a sight-seeing flight across Australia in the airline’s latest effort to contend with the impact of the pandemic on the tourism sector.

The “full-day outing" from Sydney took off on Saturday morning with 150 passengers and was scheduled to pass over some of the country’s key landmarks, including Uluru, the famed red sandstone monolith in the Northern Territory, the carrier said in a statement. The airline didn’t specify the duration of the flight or when it is scheduled to return to the same airport.

The aircraft will drop to 4,000 feet at some points during the trip for a better view, compared with 35,000 feet normally. The flight on a Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner, usually reserved for long-haul international flights, will use offsets to account for its carbon emissions, Qantas said.

Airlines and tourism operators are grappling with a dramatic plunge in passenger traffic as a result of border closures, quarantine measures and curbs on movement. A third of the world’s passenger jets remain grounded, while the number of flights in the U.S. is about half the total a year ago and about 60% lower in Europe, according to aviation data provider Cirium.

Qantas, which plans to cut as many as 8,500 jobs and is considering the future of its Sydney headquarters under a cost review, last month offered loaded bar carts from retired 747s for about A$1,474 ($1,067) each, and previously sold off stocks of pajamas.

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