The Australian airline Qantas has organized a sightseeing flight over Australia. 150 passengers took part in the approximately eight-hour sightseeing flight. The action has met with fierce criticism on the Internet.
Flying in Corona times: Due to the multiple travel restrictions in the wake of the pandemic, the Australian airline Qantas carried 150 passengers in a sightseeing flight over its own country on Saturday. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner took off in the morning from the international airport in Sydney and landed there again a good eight hours later, as a Qantas spokeswoman confirmed.
Because the departure and destination airports were identical, the whole thing was announced in the media as a “flight to nowhere”. The route first led north along the coasts of the states of New South Wales and Queensland and then to the famous island mountain Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock) in the center of the fifth continent. Through the large windows of the Dreamliner, passengers could admire sights such as Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Harbor from above.
“This is obscene”
However, among those who remained on the ground, criticism of the enjoyment of flying was voiced in view of climate change. “This is obscene,” wrote one Twitter user. “I thought the Aussies were worried about climate change. Doesn’t seem so,” wrote another user. “Flights to nowhere are flights to a hotter planet,” one user found, “they (the passengers) are helping to kill the Great Barrier Reef they are staring at through the windows. Australia has recently suffered from severe bushfires in the southeast of the country.
The twin-engine Boeing 787 is actually a long-range jet. Captain Alex Passerini had said before take-off that the crews had often flown over the sights, but at the usual flight altitude of 35,000 feet (10,700 meters). During the sightseeing flight it should go down to 4000 feet (almost 1220 meters) in places.
Because of the Corona Pandemic, not only have the borders been closed to foreign visitors in Down Under for months, but travel between the individual states is also largely prohibited. According to the consumer organization ACCC, the number of air passengers in April fell by 95 percent compared to the same month last year. Tickets for the sightseeing flight were already sold out in mid-September. In economy class, they cost from 780 Australian dollars (480 euros), while a seat in business class was available from just under 3800 Australian dollars (2300 euros).