Longest commercial flight Qantas has ever taken bringing stranded Australians home from Buenos Aires

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A COVID-19 repatriation flight due to arrive in Darwin from Buenos Aires tonight will set a new record for the longest commercial flight ever operated by Qantas.

Passengers will be in the air for nearly 18 hours before landing at Darwin Airport tonight after traveling 14,683 kilometers.

“It is a little less than 200 kilometers longer than the [Perth-to-London] flight, which currently holds Qantas’ record, ”said aviation analyst Bruce Dale.

The flight also marks a milestone for Darwin Airport, which will become the first airport in Australia – and one of the very few in the world – to receive non-stop flights from all six permanently inhabited continents.

It is an exclusive club that has escaped some of the biggest airports in the world.

“Given the geography of the Earth, it is exceptionally rare to have non-stop flights from all continents of the world,” said Mr. Dale.

“Other airports that are part of the ‘club of six continents’ are Doha, Dubai and London – these are global hubs.”

The flight to Darwin will be Qantas’s longest distance commercial flight ever.(

ABC News: Giulio Saggin, file photo

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“We even beat Singapore for non-stop flights,” he added.

Australia via Antarctica

Passengers lucky enough to board the Boeing 787 will be delighted as they fly over the South Pole.

It might seem like an odd road to take, but it is the most direct way to get to Darwin via the Argentinian capital.

This is because the world is round and an ordinary map can be misleading about the actual distance between two places.

“If you were to cross straight through as you imagine on a map it would probably add 30 to 40 percent more distance,” Mr. Dale said.

“They’re going to fly over areas so remote that they might be the first to see that part of the world.”

A man smiling under his face mask, sitting in an airplane passenger seat.
Bruce Dale says the flight is a big milestone for commercial airlines.(

Provided: Bruce Dale

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Passengers will also have a good view – the Boeing 787 has the largest windows of all passenger jets in service.

Confirmation pending on the Darwin-London route

Mr Dale – who works for Northern Territory airports – said the flight highlighted Darwin’s potential as an aviation hub.

“Darwin was Australia’s first international airport due to its location and our geography has not changed,” he said.

“We are certainly well positioned for services, particularly to Asia and Europe.

Qantas Managing Director Alan Joyce is currently in talks with the NT government about the possibility of using Darwin instead of Perth for the airline’s daily Melbourne-London flight and return flight from mid-December to April. .

The NT government has previously said getting the deal done is a matter of priority.

“I have asked the most senior officials to tackle this problem and, as a priority, to work with Darwin Airport and Qantas to make it happen,” said Chief Minister Michael Gunner.

More details are expected to be announced later this week.

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