18-hour record flight over Antarctica | Polarjournal
About a third of the way of the flight, the plane crossed the coast of Antarctica on its way to Australia. (Photo: Qantas)

A Qantas Dreamliner flew from Buenos Aires to Darwin on October 6, a 14,673-kilometre odyssey that took nearly 18 hours. The flight goes down in the record books as the longest commercial Qantas flight. The route is 200km longer than Qantas’ Perth-London service.

Probably the coolest aspect of this flight was the routing, as it literally flew over Antarctica. While there are many flights that use polar routes, routes over, or near, Antarctica are exceptionally rare.

The flight is also a milestone for Darwin Airport, which is the first airport in Australia and one of the few in the world to receive non-stop flights from all permanently inhabited continents. The other airports are Doha, Dubai and London.

Qantas’ route took it across Antarctica (Photo: RadarBox)

Flight number QF14 also flew further south than most flights that occasionally enter this area. About a third of the way of the flight, the plane crossed the coast of Antarctica on its way to Australia.

Captain Passerini and his co-pilot gave in-flight updates via Qantas’ Twitter feed, pointing out that the temperature reached minus 75° Celsius as the plane flew over the Walker Mountains from Thurston Island, one of Antarctica’s largest islands.

After a flight time of 17 hours 26 minutes, the Qantas Dreamliner reached Darwin at 18:42 local time on 6 October (Photo: Qantas)

Repatriation flight of stranded Australians

The Department of Foreign Affairs was informed of the flight and worked with Qantas to bring Australians stranded in South America home from Buenos Aires (EZE).

During the Qantas flight, 107 Australian citizens and permanent residents of Australia were on board the aircraft. Unfortunately, some Australians from other South American countries who had booked seats on the flight had their trips cancelled or not reached in time due to Argentina’s closed borders.

After arriving in Darwin, the passengers had to go directly into a 14-day quarantine.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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