It’s probably the coolest flight in the sky right now …
Qantas Boeing 787-9 flies from Brisbane to Saint Lucia
Qantas flight 6079 is currently en route from Brisbane, Australia (BNE) to Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia (UVF). The flight covers a distance of just over 10,000 miles, making it a ridiculously long trip. By comparison, the longest scheduled flight in the world is between Singapore and New York, and covers a distance of just over 9,500 miles.
The flight time is not as long as expected based on the distance traveled, as the flight is expected to take a little over 16 hours. This is because there are strong tail winds the entire trip given that it is heading east. As of this writing, the plane is just halfway there. The plane left Brisbane around 1 p.m. Monday and is expected to land in St. Lucia around 4 p.m. Monday.
Not only does this flight cover an extremely long distance, it is also one of the most distant flights in the world today. There aren’t many ultra long-haul flights in the Southern Hemisphere (there are very few diversion points in many parts of the South Pacific Ocean), and the plane will fly nearly 9,000 miles consecutive over the ocean.
The aircraft providing this link is a Boeing 787-9 of about two years, registered VH-ZNF. A majority of Qantas’ long-haul fleet is currently grounded, given Australia’s strict travel restrictions. In recent weeks, the aircraft has mainly operated domestic transcon flights, from Brisbane and Sydney to Perth. The plane also made various one-off flights (probably mainly for repatriation), including to Delhi, London, Los Angeles and Tokyo.
Why is Qantas flying to Saint Lucia?
A logical question about this flight is probably why Qantas would operate a non-stop flight from Brisbane to Saint Lucia. Well the answer is cricket.
The Australian National Men’s Cricket Team is visiting the Caribbean for the first time in five years. The team will play a total of eight games over the course of two weeks, between July 9 and July 24, 2021. Presumably, the team will arrive early to be able to adapt to the time zone, weather, etc., and to be able to train.
Given Australia’s zero-tolerance coronavirus strategy, I’m curious to see if the team has to go through the standard two-week hotel quarantine when they return to Australia.
I’m also curious to see what exactly happens to this Qantas 787 next:
- Will the Qantas 787 return to Australia empty, as I can’t imagine it will park in St. Lucia for weeks? If so, will it stop somewhere, or operate the route nonstop (which might be possible with almost no one on board, even with headwinds)?
- Will a Qantas 787 then come and pick up the players in a few weeks, and if so, how will this flight be routed, as I can’t imagine it could be flown nonstop with a significant number of people? and bags on board?
It will be fun to watch!
At the end of the line
A Qantas Boeing 787-9 is currently flying from Brisbane to Saint Lucia. This flight is notable not only for its duration, over 10,000 miles, but also for its unique route, as it’s not often that you see such long flights in the southern hemisphere.
This flight is being operated as the Australian cricket team is heading to the Caribbean for some matches in the coming weeks.
Pretty cool course, eh?