This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.
Welcome to Reed Smith's viewpoints — timely commentary from our lawyers on topics relevant to your business and wider industry. Browse to see the latest news and subscribe to receive updates on topics that matter to you, directly to your mailbox.
| 1 minute read

Night tripping: Taking long haul lift to the southern lights

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.

The windows of the Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner are 65% bigger than similar aircraft and offer wonderful views of the aurora. Unrestricted viewing options are offered across over both business and economy classes with a seat swap system in place so you have the opportunity to see the lights from different perspectives.


transportation, aviation, covid-19