Qantas Airways’ Longest-Ever Commercial Flight

The flight odyssey went from Argentina to Australia.

The route between Buenos Aires and Darwin Australia is 220 miles shorter on the great circle, but QF14 diverged to hug the Antarctic coast to meet regulations for maximum distance from an alternate airfield if one engine fails. (Flightradar24; Inset: Dean Morley)
Air & Space Magazine

On October 6, a Qantas crew led by Captain Alex Passerini made the airline’s longest ever commercial passenger flight. Flight QF14 took off from Buenos Aires, Argentina and flew nonstop to the north coast of Australia, landing after 17 hours and 25 minutes and covering 9,334 miles. The Boeing 787-9 Great Barrier Reef carried four pilots, 17 crew, and 107 Australian passengers repatriated from South America due to the COVID pandemic. “There were some truly spectacular views as we tracked across Antarctica, which was an extra bonus for our passengers, who were very glad to be coming home,” said Passerini. The flight was about 325 miles longer than the airline’s previous longest trip, a regularly scheduled flight from Perth to London, which has been paused for the pandemic.

Though impressive, the October 6 flight is not the world’s longest. That honor goes to Singapore Airlines for service between New York and Singapore, a distance of 9,537 miles. Air Tahiti has an even longer nonstop—Papeete to Paris, which has operated a few times during the pandemic but ordinarily makes a layover in L.A. One hopes that passengers get more than peanuts.

About Paul Glenshaw

Paul Glenshaw is a frequent Air & Space contributor who writes from Silver Spring, Maryland. He created education programs for the Wright Experience and Discovery of Flight foundation, and is the co-writer and co-director of the documentary The Lafayette Escadrille.

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