What are flights to nowhere and why are they so controversial?

Last Thursday, the Australian flag carrier Qantas sold in 10 minutes all seats for a “flight to nowhere” that will fly over on October 10 for seven hours some of the main tourist attractions of Australia. The news revealed the need to travel by many people, so eager to get on a plane with no other purpose than to look out the window, eat the company menu and return home a few hours later. Fly for the pleasure of flying, and not by moving from one place to another.

Criticisms of environmentalists

These days we have also known that Singapore Airlines is considering organizing flights without destination, and that circumstance has generated controversy and criticism from environmentalists. For airlines, on the other hand, it is a (perhaps desperate) alternative to the fall in revenues due to the pandemic.

The flag carrier of the city-state indicated that the launch of “flights to nowhere”, in which passengers take off and land from the same airport, is only a plan that it is studying and will make an announcement when it makes a decision.

This alternative for frustrated travelers from Singapore, which does not have domestic routes and where, like most Asian countries, borders have been closed, it has generated criticism from citizens and environmental groups who emphasize that it would increase the emissions of gases that cause the climate crisis.

In a statement collected by Efe, the NGO SG Climate Rally expressed its solidarity with the Singapore Airlines workers who are suffering the cuts due to Covid-19, but expressed their opposition to the so-called “flights to nowhere.”

«First, it encourages flights that emit a lot of carbon without justification and secondly, it is just a patch that distracts from the policies and priority changes needed to mitigate the climate crisis, ”the organization noted.

The Singaporean airline’s plan has been raised at a sensitive time for the industry due to the restrictions by Covid-19, which has forced it to ground 90 percent of its fleet and announce the dismissal of 2,400 employees.

Other flights without landing at the destination

Destination-free travel is not new, but it is proliferating due to restrictions from the new coronavirus.

The Australian airline Qantas has decided to resume from November the 12-hour flights that it previously offered to Antarctica aboard Boeing 787 aircraft as a measure to mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic.

Also, the Japanese airline ANA started last August offering flights to nowhere aboard Hawaiian-themed Airbus A380s, while Taiwanese planes StarLux Airlines they fly over the South China Sea for about three hours without landing.

In Brunei, the airline Royal brunei offers tickets to fly over tropical forests of this small emirate in Southeast Asia for 85 minutes.

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