October 5, 2021 will be a momentous day for Qantas. The Australian airline is set to embark on its longest flight ever on that day from Buenos Aires to Darwin.
The 14,683 kilometer flight is the latest in a series of repatriation flights that Qantas has been operating over the last 18 months to help bring stranded Australians overseas home.
The airline’s flagship route, Perth to London, at 14,498 kilometres, is 185 kms shorter than the 18-hour Buenos Aires to Darwin flight.Both flights use the Qantas Boeing 787-9.
Qantas is also planning upcoming repatriation flights from London, Delhi, Istanbul and Frankfurt.
The number of Australians stranded overseas has surged to 45,000 since arrival caps to the country were tightened further. Currently, Australia’s international passenger intake is restricted to 2,285 people per week, prompting several international carriers like Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY) to temporarily curtail their services down under.
There’s hope for the future though, as Qantas expects international travel to resume by December of 2021, and the Australian government introducing a vaccine passport program ahead of its plan to open borders.