Singapore Airlines considering launching flights to nowhere

Sep 14, 2020

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Singapore Airlines is considering launching “no destination” flights next month in a unique way to offer travel-starved locals a way to experience flying again.

Local press in Singapore report the plans, in conjunction with the Singapore Tourism Board, will use the airline’s Airbus A350 aircraft. The domestic flights will take off from the country’s only major airport, Singapore Changi (SIN) and last around three hours before landing right back where they started. It’s not yet known which route around the island nation they might take.

Related: ‘Closest I’ve ever been to business class’: Singapore Airlines in premium economy on the A350-900ULR from Singapore to LAX

Singapore has imposed tough entry COVID-19 restrictions on foreigners, with most arriving passengers subject to a 14-day mandatory at-home quarantine period. These travellers are issued with an electronic wristband, which will track their location to ensure they are not leaving their quarantine location. Heavy penalties apply for non-compliance.

Also, all residents of Singapore have been advised to defer all non-essential travel abroad for the foreseeable future. This has meant that for keen travellers living in what has traditionally been one of the world’s largest aviation hubs, they have not been able to board an aircraft for many months.

Flying an aircraft to nowhere does raise undeniable environmental concerns, noting Changi has already seen far fewer flights in 2020 than usual. Along with raising some much-needed revenue, the struggling airline may also use these flights to both maintain pilots certified on the aircraft. Asiana recently operated dozens of Airbus A380 flights without passengers or cargo to keep maintain their pilots’ certification.

Singapore Airlines is not the first airline to operate these “flights to nowhere”. Taipei-based EVA Air, operated a special “Hello Kitty”-themed flight on local Father’s Day last month to grounded Taiwanese aviation enthusiasts. It featured a multi-course gourmet meal from three-Michelin-starred chef Motokazu Nakamura.

Australian-based Qantas has also operated domestic charter sightseeing-only flights for years. Despite returning to the airport they departed from without landing anywhere along the way, the flights track over Antarctica, giving eagle-eyed passengers a breathtaking view of an area few people will ever see.

Featured image by Sorbis via Shutterstock

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