Austrian Airlines Flies Nonstop To Australia, Longest Flight In Company History

Filed Under: Austrian

While the impacts of the current global pandemic have been catastrophic for the airline industry, there are some cool flights that have emerged as a result of this, at least from the perspective of an aviation geek.

That includes the furthest ever scheduled passenger flight (from Tahiti to Paris), the first nonstop A380 flight from Australia to London, a rather adventurous transatlantic turboprop flight, and a multi-stop 737-200 transatlantic repatriation flight.

Well, we can now add another flight to the list. At the moment Austrian Airlines is operating a nonstop flight from Vienna to Sydney, as the plane is positioning in order to operate a repatriation flight on the return.

As most of you probably know, Austrian Airlines has shut down scheduled operations completely, and at this point is just operating a small fleet for repatriation flights. This is one of those.

The nonstop journey from Vienna to Sydney covers a direct air distance of 9,918 miles. This is beyond the plane’s ordinary range, but:

  • There are significant tailwinds the entire way, so the plane can fly much further than it could in the other direction
  • Presumably the plane is almost empty, probably carrying no passengers and a very limited amount of cargo

These factors can have huge impacts on the range of a plane, which is why something like this is possible.

The flight time is expected to be over 17 hours, so it’s going to be quite a haul. The plane can’t operate the return nonstop, so the flight is expected to return on March 31, making a stop in Penang, Malaysia, to pick up more passengers there.

If you want to track this flight, it’s being operated by OE-LPD, a 13 year old Boeing 777-200ER. Austrian is using the flight number OS1 for this very special journey.

This is also longer than the world’s longest regularly scheduled flight from Singapore to Newark, operated by an A350-900ULR, and covering a distance of over 9,500 miles.

  1. All these flights are organized by the Foreign Ministry in Austria. OS1028 will leave Sydney on March 31 and will make a stop at PEN to pick up more stranded Austrians in Malaysia.

  2. It’s worth noting Austrian Airlines flew regularity to From Vienna to Sydney via an Asian Destination up till around 2006 I think it was. They were the last mainland European carrier to fly to Australia at all.

  3. @Phil, I thought BA were still flying to Australia via Singapore. Would not be my first choice though.

  4. Jackson

    I think when Phil used the phrase “mainland Europe” he was intentionally excluding the UK. BA still have a Sydney flight during the lockdown, a daily 777.

  5. Hopefully those who arrived are enjoying their all expenses paid trip at the Sydney intercontinental or Hyatt regency (a assuming they have brought Australians home). Yep everyone who arrives back in Australia (which is only citizens or residents) is shipped off to a hotel for a mandatory 14 days.

  6. Flight number OS1 ist the same flight number Austrian used to fly VIE-KUL-SYD until 2006 when they cut the route. So they didn’t just invent the flight number but revived it. It was also the same flight number that Austrian’s predecessor Lauda Air used on the route. Indeed a special flight number.

  7. @MDA: no passengers inside. Repatriation flight for Austrian/EU-citzens only. With PAX the non stop flight wouldn’t bei possible at all.

  8. @Sam: Great research. Beeing from Vienna, i still can’t remember what plane Austrian used for their operations to Sydney. Any Idea?

  9. @Thomas I flew OS2 and OS1 back in March 2005 and it was operated by the same aircraft type as the repatriation flights (in my case, I flew on OE-LPA and OE-LPC respectively). They planes were still painted in Lauda Air colours at the time, but flying for Austrian. Not sure what Lauda used previous to the 772, though

  10. @simon ok thanks makes sense. These are difficult times and whilst there is no doubt that there could be improvements made to the process to house people in the hotels (eg parents should be allowed to see their children in the room next door), that some of the people who are complaining (eg someone stated it is like a prison??), are very likely the people who would not have followed mandatory isolation (eg not leaving your house AT ALL – obviously except for medical appointments).

  11. UK’s strategy is still still to use commercial airlines, trying to get them to keep the routes open, this was one of the reasons behind BA being able to do a gas and go stop @ Singapore and the increased QR flights to UK and Australia.

    Interestingly SQ have now started doing these gas and go flights back to the UK starting with DPS & AKL, theses reinstated flights will still have different flight numbers but all passengers will stay on-board the same plane in SIN back to London.

  12. How many Aussies in total (of 25 million) need repatriation? It seems more than the US of nearly 330 million. “Oz” is painted as the end all be all so why so many Aussies living and working abroad?

  13. @Matthieu

    I can confirm this!

    I live in Bali and was returning from Lombok Saturday morning when I noticed this plane parked on the tarmac apron. I thought it strange as Austrian Airlines does not service DPS, however, I thought it may be repatriation flight of which there have been several as of late.

    Mystery solved.

  14. @ Celebrasian
    @ Matthieu
    That was a repatriation flight from DPS via KUL to VIE, which landed in VIE on Sunday morning.
    The flight to SYD did indeed make it nonstop but for whatever reason switched flight number halfway through. Over India it switched from OS1 to OS1457. However it did NOT land since OS1 ended at 35,000 ft and OS1457 started at 35,000 ft.

  15. @Daniel: Thank you for the research. At that time they still had two A340ies and a couple of A330ies and aquired the B772 and B763, which they still operate, from Lauda Air.

  16. Austrian did indeed operate VIE-MEL but my memory is that it was via SIN and I used it a number of times between SIN-MEL, last in 2006. They also used to operate VIE-SYD via KUL until about 2006 and while I never traveled with them on that route I was quite used to seeing the crews check in to the hotel I used to use in SYD at the time – what is now the Pullman Hyde Park though it was a Marriott back then.

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