A Qantas flight to nowhere lasted more than eight hours and flew over Ayers Rock, while the Fiji Airways flight drew a 50 in the sky to celebrate the anniversary of Fiji’s independence. Both are virtually grounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Operated from Sydney airport on October 10, 2020 aboard the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in “aboriginal” Yam Dreaming livery (VH-ZND), the flight QF787 of the Australian flag carrier lasted 8:26, with onboard welcomed the 150 passengers who snapped tickets in ten minutes last month. The aircraft made a number of low altitudes (4000ft) overflights over key locations along the NSW and Queensland coasts, before plunging inland to fly over Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Northern Territory « after obtaining a special authorization ».
The flight path was designed according to Qantas « to present the unique Australian landscape from a different perspective, and without having to worry about the continued closure of borders. » The Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays also « welcomed » the plane. Economy class seating came in AU $ 787, Premium AU $ 1,787, and a few Business Class seats were available for AU $ 3,787.
At Fiji Airways, it is on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of independence that a flight to nowhere also took off on Saturday from Nadi airport: the Airbus A350-900 (DQ-FAJ) carried 66 passengers who collectively paid some $ 7,000 to benefit a cancer charity (Fiji Cancer Society). The FJ50 flight only lasted about an hour and a half but had time to fly low over the capital Suva and then « draw » the number 50 in the sky.
Beautiful day for our special #FJ50 flight. #FJ50 🇫🇯 Departs Nadi at 10.30am with low #flyover along the Coral Coast, Suva (Albert Park) at 10.55am, along the Tailevu coast, most of Vanua Levu including Lau and the Lomaiviti group. Back in Nadi at 12.30pm. #flightagainstcancer pic.twitter.com/j2LxaCUIyy
— Fiji Airways (@FijiAirways) October 9, 2020