A group of British holidaymakers on a tour of Australia organised by British travel company Titan have made aviation history by flying on a non-stop flight from Darwin International Airport to London Heathrow.
Transit restrictions in Singapore following the ongoing covid-19 outbreak obliged Qantas to temporarily operate its flagship A380 Sydney to London service via Darwin.
After refuelling, the QF1 flight was due to depart from Darwin International Airport, completing the 8,614 mile (13,863km) non-stop journey to London Heathrow in just under 17 hours (16 hours 45 minutes).
The second leg of the QF1 flight to London Heathrow was due to depart Darwin International Airport at 23:00 local time (13:30 GMT) yesterday, with a scheduled arrival of 06:15 (GMT) this morning at London Heathrow, Terminal 3.
The arrival of the historic QF1 Darwin to London Heathrow flight on Wednesday 25 March comes exactly two years after QF9 made history on 25 March 2018 when it completed the first ever non-stop flight from Perth, Australia to the UK.
“Our team continues to work around the clock to get all Titan customers across the world home safely as quickly as possible amid the ongoing covid-19 outbreak,” said Titan Travel MD Andy Squirrell.
“While we are sorry for having to cut short a number of our tours, we continue to act in accordance with government guidance to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our customers is not compromised.”
“It is uplifting to hear that our customers returning home from Titan’s Grand Tour of Australia will be forming part of aviation history by travelling on the first temporary non-stop flight from Darwin to London Heathrow.
“We wish all our customers and everyone else who has had to cut their travels short due to covid-19 a safe flight home. We look forward to welcoming travellers back on a Titan holiday once normal travel resumes.”
The arrival of QF1 in Darwin on 24 March 2020 will also mark the first time an A380 has ever landed in Australia’s Northern Territory.
QF1 will continue to operate its temporary route from Sydney to London Heathrow via Darwin until the end of March, after which Qantas is suspending all international flights until at least the end of May.