Qantas is currently halfway through a mammoth 17-hour journey from Brisbane to the Caribbean country of St. Lucia. The Boeing 787-9 is carrying the Australian men’s cricket team for their upcoming series against the West Indies. Let’s find out about this flight.
First spotted by Airline Secrets, the Australian men’s cricket team has chartered one of Qantas’ 787s to transport the team to Vieux Fort, St. Lucia. Flight QF6079 departed Brisbane Airport today at 13:26 local time for the lengthy 16,179-kilometre flight to the other side of the world in the Caribbean.
While the 787-9 boasts an impressive range of 14,498 kilometers when fully loaded, the light passenger and cargo load means that this longer flight can be made without a stop. Most of the flight spans over the South Pacific ocean before the aircraft enters South America and later, the Caribbean.
At the time of writing, the flight has completed has flown 8 hours and five minutes, completing over 8,400 kilometers. The flight is cruising at 39,000 feet as it flies over the Pacific.
In a few hours, the Dreamliner will enter South America over Ecuador and fly over Colombia and Venezuela before entering the Caribbean sea. The flight is expected to touch down at Vieux Fort Airport at 15:54 local time, 16 hours and 28 minutes after departing from Brisbane.
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As mentioned, the aircraft carrying the men’s cricket team is one of Qantas’ Boeing 787-9s. This particular one is registered VH-ZNF and is 2.9-years-old, having been delivered new to Qantas in August 2018, according to ch-aviation.
Before this mammoth flight, the Dreamliner was flying transcontinental journeys between Perth and Brisbane. In early June, the plane completed a repatriation flight from New Delhi, bringing home hundreds of stranded citizens.
The plane has 236 seats onboard, with 42 in business class, 28 in premium economy, and 166 in economy. However, given only the players, coaches, and other staff are traveling, we can expect only the premium cabins to be packed on this service.
While Qantas’ widebody jets off to the Caribbean, the situation at home has become more complicated. A serious outbreak in Sydney has resulted in domestic border closures and a pause in the New Zealand travel bubble. Moreover, new local cases have cropped up in Brisbane, Darwin, and Perth in recent days, shrinking airline schedules massively.
The flare-up comes just a month after Melbourne went into similar lockdown conditions due to new cases. With most interstate travel now blocked off, airlines will have to cancel dozens of flights and deal with lower flight loads for at least the next few weeks.
The coming weeks will hopefully see cases come back under control and domestic travel resume. Until then, airlines are bracing themselves for more turbulence as the pandemic continues to hurt business.