Asian airlines turn to 'flights to nowhere' to get travellers back in the skies - Reuters

* Qantas to offer seven-hour scenic flight over Australia

* EVA Air, ANA, Tigerair Taiwan have also offered such flights

* Asian international travel has plunged 97.5% – AAPA

SYDNEY, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Qantas Airways Ltd said on Thursday it would operate a seven-hour scenic flight over Australia next month, adding to a growing trend in Asia of “flights to nowhere” that take off and land at the same airport.

Tough border restrictions to keep the coronavirus under control have led to a 97.5% plunge in international travel in the region, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.

Many frequent flyers miss getting on planes and airlines including Taiwan’s EVA Airways Corp and Japan’s ANA Holdings Inc, desperate for revenue and to keep their pilots’ licences current, have offered special sightseeing flights.

EVA used one of its iconic Hello Kitty livery planes for a special father’s day flight last month, while ANA used an Airbus SE A380 that usually flies to Honolulu for a 90-minute flight with a Hawaiian experience on board.

Tickets costing around $228 for a Tigerair Taiwan flight from Taipei that will circle over South Korea’s Jeju Island reportedly sold out in four minutes. The price includes a one-year voucher for round-trip tickets from Taiwan to Korea, which can be used after COVID-19 travel bans are lifted.

Singapore Airlines Ltd is also considering scenic flights, but no decision has been made, a spokesman said.

Qantas said it would use a Boeing Co 787 typically used for long-haul international flights for the flight from Sydney that will fly at low levels over Uluru, the
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