Qantas has confirmed they will be sending most of their Boeing 787-9 aircraft to Victorville. The airline has attributed the plan to COVID-19’s profound impact on Australian aviation.
For the rest of Qantas’ Dreamliners, an exciting plan awaits; Antarctica flights. The airline will be flying passengers from most capital cities in Australia, on a domestic flight over the frozen continent!
Headed for Storage
Qantas Dreamliners that are not operating the Antarctica flights will be stored in Victorville for some time. Qantas is anticipating the reopening of international borders to occur in July 2021, so stored aircraft will remain in the desert until then. A Qantas spokesperson told SamChui.com that the B787s will be kept in operational condition.
When asked about using Australia’s local alternative to Victorville (the desert town of Alice Springs) the spokesman said that California has the climate. For Qantas, Alice Springs is “too humid” for long-term storage.
We also have engineers and equipment for A380 + 787 maintenance [in Victorville] which, is only a 2.5-hour drive from LAX (Los Angeles).Qantas spokesman
2-3 aircraft will stay in Australia as a “contingency” in case international services can resume sooner. Qantas also told SamChui.com that up to 100 aircraft will be stored in California for 12 months minimum.
“We’ve said we expect the 787s to be the first aircraft to return to service when long-haul international travel returns, so the rest will come back to Australia when the time is right.“Qantas spokesman
Qantas has been storing their Dreamliners around Australia since COVID-19 halted international travel. Multiple aircraft have been stored in Melbourne, as I saw here when flying for work in June.
Dubbed “the world’s most unique scenic flight” these 13-hour journeys will see passengers enjoy international-style service whilst cruising over Antarctica.
For those concerned about Australia’s international border closure, fear not as all these flights will take-off and land at the same airport. Thus, these Antarctica flights will be considered a domestic flight.
Tour operator Antarctica Flights will privately charter the Qantas 787 Dreamliners for the flights, which are scheduled to begin in November. Onboard, passengers can expect catering similar to what is found on Qantas’ international services.
Speaking to 7News, Antarctica Flights CEO, Bas Bosschieter, said that passengers will reach the Antarctic coast after three hours of flying.
“It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Antarctica in a day…I personally think it’s the best answer to the question ‘What did you get up to on the weekend? Just popped down to Antarctica’.”Bas Bosschieter
In light of COVID-19, all passengers will be required to complete a Health and Safety declaration form. In addition, all passengers and crew will undergo temperature screening prior to departure. At this stage, passengers will not have to wear a mask.
Prices will start from $1,199 ($860) per person for Economy over the wing, according to 7News. The best Business Class seats, with a window, will cost AU$7,999 ($5730).