Lufthansa is set to return to the Falkland Islands with another mammoth Airbus A350 journey from Hamburg. This will be the second time that the German flag carrier has flown directly from Hamburg to Mount Pleasant, the longest route it has ever operated non-stop.
While the pandemic has generally been terrible for the aviation industry, it has led to a series of one-off flights that would never usually occur under normal circumstances. These started as repatriation flights before morphing into freight flights and even leisure flights to nowhere. Lufthansa has also gotten in on the unusual flight act.
A second Falklands trip
Around two months ago, a Lufthansa Airbus A350 landed at Munich Airport. This in itself is nothing special. However, what was noteworthy was that the A350 had just returned from the Falkland Islands on the airline’s longest trip yet. Now, Lufthansa is set to repeat that feat.
LH2574 is once again set to depart from Hamburg Airport tomorrow at 21:30. It is then scheduled to touch down in Mount Pleasant at 07:55 the next day, after a planned flight of 15 hours and 25 minutes. For comparison, the last flight planned for the same duration clocked in at 15 hours and 36 minutes. The aircraft should land back in Munich on April 3rd.
The flights have been organized to ferry Alfred Wegener Institute crew to and from the Polar Stern vessel as it embarks on Antarctic expeditions. This time the flight will be picking up researchers dropped off two months ago and supplying new crew for the ship. German scientists will also travel on the flight to take measurements. Last month we saw an Icelandair 767 fly to Antarctica on behalf of Norwegian scientists.
Commenting on the flight, Thomas Jahn, Fleet Captain and Falklands Project Manager, said,
“With the second flight to the Falkland Islands, we are not only pleased to be able to support the AWI’s polar research expedition, but also to make an important contribution to further research into the Earth’s magnetic field… We have already been supporting climate research projects for more than 25 years now.”
No ordinary flight
For Lufthansa, flying to the Falkland Islands is not an ordinary flight, and that’s if you exclude all the extra flight planning required. The Falkland Islands hasn’t recorded a case of COVID-19 since mid-February. This is something that it is keen to maintain. All the while, Germany and other parts of Europe are seeing surging case numbers as the third COVID-19 wave takes hold.
To avoid carrying COVID-19 to the islands, all individuals onboard the flight will have been quarantining before departing Hamburg. The last time the flight operated, it left from an unused part of the terminal to avoid the possibility of somebody contracting COVID-19 in the airport.
Due to the challenges of flying to the Falkland Islands, Lufthansa must carry all rubbish generated on the outbound flight back to Germany on the return flight, in addition to taking enough catering for both flights. Additionally, the aircraft will carry its own staff to deal with any maintenance issues that may pop up, in addition to turning the aircraft around at Mount Pleasant.
Are you excited to see the return of Lufthansa’s longest flight? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!