Qantas’ South America-Australia Flight Is Officially Airline’s Longest

Qantas’ South America-Australia Flight Is Officially Airline’s Longest

It's also the airline’s first trip between the cities of Buenos Aires and Darwin.

Singapore Airlines holds the world’s longest flight record with its Singapore to New York route. The journey covers a distance of 15,353 km and takes a total of 18 hours and 40 minutes non-stop. Not far behind is Qantas Airways, which operates a 14,500 km flight from Perth to London. This time, taking a 17-hour and 15-minute travel time — a record it recently broke with a historic Qantas South America to Australia route.

An Australian carrier’s longest commercial flight

Departing from Buenos Aires, Argentina at exactly 12.44pm on 6 Oct 2021, Qantas flight QF14 headed for Darwin, Australia aboard a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. It’s considered the most advanced long-haul aircraft in the world. Covering a total length of 15,020 km, it’s 522 km longer than the Australian-based airline’s Perth to London route. The plane safely arrived at the country’s Northern Territory capital at 6.39pm local time on the same day.

Also read: Qantas Tops The List of World’s Safest Airlines for 2021

Qantas Argentina to Australia

The Qantas Argentina to Australia flight route | Image credit: Flightradar24 Official Website

The entire journey took 17 hours and 25 minutes and had 128 people on board. These included four pilots, 17 cabin crew members, and 107 passengers who are repatriated Australians from South America. The plane originally departed from Brisbane to bring home Argentina’s rugby team following the 2021 Rugby Championship, before making the return trip to Australia bound for a different destination.

The Qantas South America to Australia journey

Even more fascinating is the journey taken to successfully complete the flight.

Upon taking off from Buenos Aires, flight QF14 flew over the Pacific Ocean and eventually, Antarctica, a route that took extensive planning due to foreseen weather challenges in these areas. If anything went wrong, the nearest emergency landing zone would have been hundreds of kilometres away. But even with a -75°C temperature and 35 km/h winds while over Antarctica’s Walker Ranges, the flight was smooth sailing, according to the pilots via live Twitter updates.

Also read: 6 Foolproof Tricks to Help You Survive a Long-Haul Flight

Antarctica Mountains

A view of Antarctica from Qantas flight QF14 | Image credit: Qantas Official Twitter Page

Although a one-time trip for now, the Qantas South America to Australia repatriation flight was also the airline’s first trip between the cities of Buenos Aires and Darwin. Qantas likewise takes pride in other record-breaking flights in the past, including a 20-hour and 9-minute delivery flight in 1989. Two research flights also took place in 2019 from London and New York going to Sydney, both flying for at least 19 hours each. These, however, did not carry paying passengers.

Apart from Qantas and Singapore Airlines, other record holders for operating or having operated the world’s longest commercial flights include: Qatar Airways’ Auckland to Doha; Emirates’ Auckland to Dubai; United Airlines’ San Francisco to Bangalore; Philippine Airlines’ New York to Manila; and Delta Air Lines’ Atlanta to Johannesburg. All of these routes have a flying time of at least 15 hours and do not involve stopovers.

Featured image credit: Qantas | Official Website

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Joser Ferreras
Joser Ferreras

Joser is a senior writer for TripZilla based in Manila, Philippines. He mostly covers travel, people, and business.