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‘Flights to nowhere’: Amid coronavirus travel restrictions, Asian airlines offer scenic flights that take off, land at same airport – travel

Qantas Airways Ltd mentioned a seven-hour scenic flight over Australia’s Outback and Great Barrier Reef had offered out in 10 minutes, because it joined a rising development in Asia providing “flights to nowhere” that take off and land at the same airport. Tough border restrictions to maintain the coronavirus below management have led to a 97.5% plunge in worldwide travel within the area, in accordance to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines. Many frequent flyers miss getting on planes and airlines together with Taiwan’s EVA Airways Corp and Japan’s ANA Holdings Inc, determined for income and to maintain their pilots’ licences present, have provided particular sightseeing flights. The Qantas flight, in a Boeing Co 787 usually used for lengthy-haul worldwide journeys, will fly at low ranges over Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Harbour earlier than touchdown again in Sydney.

Tickets price between A$787 and A$3,787 ($575 and $2,765) relying on the seating class and the 134 obtainable seats have been rapidly snapped up, a Qantas spokeswoman mentioned on Thursday. “It’s probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history,” she mentioned. “People clearly miss travel and the experience of flying. If the demand is there, we’ll definitely look at doing more of these scenic flights while we all wait for borders to open.”

Taiwan’s EVA used considered one of its iconic Hello Kitty livery planes for a particular father’s day flight final month, whereas ANA used an Airbus SE A380 that often flies to Honolulu for a 90-minute flight with a Hawaiian expertise on board. Tickets costing $6,888 Taiwan {dollars} ($236) for a Tigerair Taiwan flight from Taipei that will circle over South Korea’s Jeju Island reportedly offered out in 4 minutes. The worth features a one-yr voucher for spherical-journey tickets from Taiwan to Korea, which can be utilized after COVID-19 travel bans are lifted.



Chen Shu Tze, 44, an engineer from Taipei, mentioned she signed up for the flight as a result of the voucher made it a superb deal and she or he missed having the ability to travel – particularly to South Korea, a favorite vacation spot. “The pandemic has a devasting impact on the tourism and airline industry, so I want to help boost the economy, and I miss flying,” she advised Reuters. All of the nations the place the flights are on offer have comparatively low numbers of COVID-19 circumstances by international requirements. Among different airline stunts, Thai Airways International PCL this month opened a pop-up restaurant on the bottom, providing in-flight meals served from airline seats to would-be travellers.

CLIMATE CONCERNS

Singapore Airlines Ltd can also be eyeing scenic flights from subsequent month, the nation’s Straits Times newspaper reported on Sunday, an concept that obtained widespread criticism from environmentalists and on-line commenters. “First, it encourages carbon-intensive travel for no good reason and second, it is merely a stop-gap measure that distracts from the policy and value shifts necessary to mitigate the climate crisis,” mentioned consciousness group SG Climate Rally. Singapore Airlines mentioned it’s contemplating a number of initiatives however no remaining choice has been made on whether or not to offer sightseeing flights.

Qantas mentioned it could pay to offset the carbon emissions on its scenic flight from Sydney, although on-line critics famous that wouldn’t truly cut back emissions. The idea of scenic flights shouldn’t be new. Antarctica Flights has chartered Qantas jets for scenic flights over Antarctica for 26 years. An Air New Zealand Ltd sightseeing flight over Antarctica in 1979 crashed into Mount Erebus, killing all 257 individuals on board.

(This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content. Only the headline has been modified.)

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