Cool: Qantas 787 Flies 10,000+ Miles To Saint Lucia

Cool: Qantas 787 Flies 10,000+ Miles To Saint Lucia

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This is probably the coolest flight in the sky right now…

Qantas Boeing 787-9 flies from Brisbane to Saint Lucia

Qantas flight 6079 is currently enroute 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 journey. As a point of comparison, the world’s longest regularly scheduled flight is between Singapore and New York, and that covers a distance of just over 9,500 miles.

The flight time isn’t quite as long as you’d expect based on the distance flown, as the flight is expected to take just over 16 hours. That’s because there are strong tailwinds for the entire journey, given that it’s eastbound. At the time that this post is being published, the plane is just past the halfway point. The plane left Brisbane at around 1PM on Monday, and is scheduled to land in Saint Lucia at around 4PM on Monday.

A Qantas 787 is flying from Brisbane to Saint Lucia

Not only does this flight cover an extremely long distance, but it’s also one of the most remote flights operating in the world right now. 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 spend nearly 9,000 consecutive miles over the ocean.

The plane operating this route is a roughly two year old Boeing 787-9, with the registration code VH-ZNF. A majority of Qantas’ long haul fleet is currently grounded, given Australia’s strict travel restrictions. In recent weeks the plane has been primarily operating domestic transcon flights, from Brisbane and Sydney to Perth. The plane has also operated a variety of one-off flights (presumably primarily for repatriation), including to Delhi, London, Los Angeles, and Tokyo.

Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 business class

Why is Qantas flying to Saint Lucia?

One logical question about this flight is probably why Qantas would operate a nonstop flight from Brisbane to Saint Lucia. Well, the answer is cricket.

The Australian men’s national cricket team is headed to 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 is getting there early to be able to acclimate to the timezone, weather, etc., and to be able to practice.

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 upon returning to Australia.

I’m also curious to see what exactly happens to this Qantas 787 next:

  • Will the Qantas 787 fly back to Australia empty, since I can’t imagine it will just park in Saint Lucia for weeks? If so, will it stop somewhere, or will it operate the route nonstop (which might just be possible with almost no one onboard, even with the headwinds)?
  • Will a Qantas 787 then come and pick up the players in a few weeks, and if so, how will that flight be routed, since I can’t imagine that could be flown nonstop with a significant number of people and bags onboard?

This will be a fun one to watch!

I’ll be watching to see what happens to the 787 next

Bottom line

A Qantas Boeing 787-9 is currently flying from Brisbane to Saint Lucia. This flight is remarkable not just for how long it is, at over 10,000 miles, but also for the unique routing, since it’s not often you see flights this long in the Southern Hemisphere.

This flight is being operated because Australia’s cricket team is headed to the Caribbean for some matches over the coming weeks.

Pretty cool route, eh?

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  1. Will Rutledge

    It looks like that particular aircraft is still in Lax

  2. Will Rutledge

    Just out of interest I have just checked Flight Radar 24 and I put in the aircraft registration and the only record for that aircraft is Brisbane to Lax on the 6th of July

  3. William E Canfield

    Hi Edgar have you booked your flight home yet?

  4. Brigid Jennings Clark

    Dec, do you have an idea of what time departure is planned? I live in St Lucia & would love to go see that.

  5. Mayank

    The Aussies will be also quarantined there in st Lucia before the first t20 game & the. Will have to do a full 2 week quarantine when they return. It’ll be interesting because they have to go to Dubai for the t20 cricket World Cup beginning October so will they go home and quarantine just to get back on the plane to Dubai or will they head somewhere like England to practice & stay together as a team remains to be seen

  6. Helen

    Well as a Melbourne gal who has been involved in tourism in St Lucia since 1972 so sorry I will miss the return flight
    Any chance of this becoming a regular route?

    1. Saint Lucian

      I'd say nil, unless Qantas includes St Lucia in a stop or its round the world tours. Lets enjoy while it lasts and have a great game.

  7. Steven E

    Big question, who’s paying for this ? Cricket Australia better have deep pockets

    1. Mike C

      Whaddaya know? From CA's web site, it appears that Qantas is the naming rights sponsor of the tour, so I guess that answers the question. That said, CA does have deepish pockets. You may recall Ben reported on the La Compagnie charter for the Australian Men's tour to England last year. (Not as deep as the BCCI, which paid all sorts of money for quarantine accommodation and flight expenses for players returning home from the...

      Whaddaya know? From CA's web site, it appears that Qantas is the naming rights sponsor of the tour, so I guess that answers the question. That said, CA does have deepish pockets. You may recall Ben reported on the La Compagnie charter for the Australian Men's tour to England last year. (Not as deep as the BCCI, which paid all sorts of money for quarantine accommodation and flight expenses for players returning home from the cancelled IPL last month. An Air Seychelles charter from the Maldives to Sydney for the Australians involved.)

  8. Travis C. Berance

    I'm St. Lucian, great article! I wish the team the best, hope the crew stays to enjoy paradise and leave after the games.

  9. Christopher Kessell

    I live in St. Lucia and I am an Australian through my parents. If it wasn't for Covid I would jump at the chance to fly to Australia direct, spend a couple months there and jump back on the same plane coming back to collect the players!! Oh well, one can only dream.....

  10. Milo

    "Will a Qantas 787 then come and pick up the players in a few weeks, and if so, how will that flight be routed, since I can’t imagine that could be flown nonstop with a significant number of people and bags onboard?"

    A refueling stop at Tahiti would be the most logical option.

  11. Jerry

    If the crew is based in SYD, than a couple of weeks in the Caribbean is like winning the lottery.

  12. Ben

    I'd expect the plane to stay in Saint Lucia unless there is maintenance it can have performed nearby. There is the crew aspect, but given Qantas has almost no int'l flights at the moment, I can't imagine the plane is needed and they may have found a crew willing to spend a month outside of Australia.

  13. Morgan

    "I’m curious to see if the team has to go through the standard two week hotel quarantine upon returning to Australia."

    Ben the answer to that is 100% yes. Scott Morrison (our PM) who has been fully vaccinated even had to do 2 weeks quarantine after coming back from G7 (admittedly he didn't have to do it in a hotel but the cricket players will)

  14. Sean M.

    Yes, the cricket teams have to go through the full quarantine process in Australia like everyone else. The only difference is that there are privately funded dedicated facilities for them so they don't take away from the "quota" for other returning residents.

  15. What Can I Say?

    As an Australian: No, not cool.
    Politicians (Scomo and eventually Palachook), cricketers and anyone with wealth seem to be able to fly in and out of the country as they wish.
    Meanwhile I've had to say goodbye to dying loved ones overseas via FaceTime.

    1. ChrisC

      Isn't ScoMO in isolation followign his visit to Europe?

    2. Dec

      Aircraft is repositioning UVF-LAX on Wednesday and then LAX-BNE

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Sean M.

Yes, the cricket teams have to go through the full quarantine process in Australia like everyone else. The only difference is that there are privately funded dedicated facilities for them so they don't take away from the "quota" for other returning residents.

Dec

Aircraft is repositioning UVF-LAX on Wednesday and then LAX-BNE

Jerry

If the crew is based in SYD, than a couple of weeks in the Caribbean is like winning the lottery.

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