Austrian Airlines is currently undertaking the longest flight it has ever operated in more than 60 years. The European airline is flying from Vienna to Sydney today on a repatriation mission. The flight will arrive at around 03:30 UTC tomorrow morning.
What are the details?
Like many airlines around the world, Austrian Airlines is particularly keen to work with its home government in order to repatriate its nationals. Today, Austrian Airlines is undertaking a gargantuan task of flying Austrian citizens back from Oceania. A Boeing 777-200 from the Austrian fleet is, at the time of writing, flying over the Caspian Sea on its way to Sydney.
The Boeing aircraft, registered OE-LPD, left Vienna on the morning of 29th March at 09:31 UTC. It will take 17 hours for the aircraft to fly the non-stop distance all the way to Sydney – a distance of over 16,000km. The Austrian Airlines flight will touch down at Sydney Airport around 03:30 on 30th March.
In a post on Twitter, the flight will be the carrier’s longest non-stop journey in its history.
Over 17 hours flight time, 16,000 km distance. Our Boeing 777, the OE-LPD, just took off for the longest flight in more than 60 years of company history: nonstop from Vienna to Sydney picking up repatriates. 💪🛫🇦🇹 Follow OS 1457 live @flightradar24. pic.twitter.com/pV7UVMybKZ
— Austrian Airlines (@_austrian) March 29, 2020
Austrian’s Boeing 777 flies other long-haul routes
In fact, Austrian’s latest direct flight is much longer than the longest route on its normal schedule. In April 2017, nearly three years ago, the airline inaugurated a route between Vienna International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. The route covers over 9,800km and has a total flight time of 12 hours and 15 minutes. It is also flown by a Boeing 777-200 but remarkably the route between Vienna and Sydney will require an additional 6,200km from the aircraft as well as nearly five extra hours of flight time.
That said, the 777’s range specification makes it an excellent choice for this direct flight.
Interestingly, however, the return journey for the 777 will not be direct. Instead, the aircraft will be stopping in Penang International Airport in Malaysia. A spokesperson for Austrian Airlines told Simple Flying why:
“In Penang, we will change the crew, refuel and try to pick up some cargo (medical goods like protective gloves, which are produced by Semperit-Group).”
Head of Corporate Communications at the airline, Peter Thier continued to say that the turnout for the flight was expected to be high. He said:
“We currently assume that the flight from Sydney will be fully occupied. The capacity of this flight is 290 passengers (306 seats minus 16 crew members).”
Austrian Airlines is heavily involved in repatriation
On 30th March, Austrian Airlines will take its passengers back to Vienna. The aircraft will leave Sydney Airport at 23:15 UTC on that day and arrive at Penang International Airport at 07:55 UTC the following day. The flight will wait just over one and a half hours as crews load the aircraft with supplies before it completes the final leg of the journey. The aircraft will leave Penang International airport at 09:35 UTC and arrive at Vienna at 21:35 UTC the same day.
However, this trip is just one of many that Austrian Airlines has carried out to repatriate nationals. Mr. Thier told us that since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, 21 repatriation flights had been carried out. The airline has worked closely with the government to return 5,000 passengers back to Austria. Likewise, it has also operated eight cargo flights from China and Malaysia. And its good work is not over yet!
What do you make of this story? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.