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.
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.
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!
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?