A travel company specialising in polar visits has come up with an exciting way to make use of some of Australia’s dormant long-haul aircraft capacity, chartering Qantas Dreamliners for ‘Southern Lights Flights’ into the Aurora Australis.
The flight does not land, but takes passengers on a 12 hour trip into the cosmic light show, and has no established flight path so the pilot can take whatever route provides the best views on the night. Passengers receive full Qantas in-flight service, commentary from an astronomer, and assistance from a professional photographer to take the best possible photos of the lights.
A year ago this might have sounded bizarre, but as pent-up travel demand builds and airlines try to position themselves to work with evolving Covid restrictions, ideas like this are indicative of the degree of creativity that may be required from the industry to move forward.
There are reports, for example, that despite the financial turmoil of the last year, some entrepreneurs consider this the perfect time to start a brand new airline – you can read Christopher Jackson’s earlier post on this here. Others might be looking to transition financing or less conventional methods of funding their environmental initiatives; or to new ways of monetising their available lift capacity (like these charter flights); or establishing freighter conversion programs. Using a Dreamliner as a night sky tour bus might be just the beginning.