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Singapore Airlines drops 'flights to nowhere' after outcry by environmental activists


With the aviation industry in deep crisis, several carriers, including in Australia, Japan and Taiwan, have been offering short flights that start and end at the same airport to raise cash.

They are designed for travel-starved people keen to fly at a time of virus-related restrictions, and have proved surprisingly popular.

But Singapore's flag carrier - which has grounded nearly all its planes and cut thousands of jobs - said it had ditched the idea following a review.

The carrier has come up with alternative ideas to raise revenue, including offering customers tours of aircraft and offering them the chance to dine inside an Airbus A380, the world's biggest commercial airliner.

Environmental activists had voiced opposition to Singapore Airlines launching "flights to nowhere", with group SG Climate Rally saying the plan would encourage "carbon-intensive travel for no good reason".

"We believe air travel has always caused environmental harm, and it is now an opportune moment for us to think seriously about transitions instead of yearning to return to a destructive status quo." The airline said earlier this month it was cutting about 4,300 jobs, or 20 per cent of its workforce, the latest carrier to make massive layoffs. Information boards displaying flights to Queensland at Sydney Domestic Airport, Sydney, Friday, July 31, 2020. The International Air Transport Association estimates that airlines operating in the Asia-Pacific region stand to lose a combined $27.8 billion this year.

The group also forecasts that global air traffic is unlikely to return to pre-coronavirus levels until at least 2024. Grounded Qantas aircraft are seen parked at Brisbane Airport in Brisbane. AAP Earlier this month Qantas released tickets for a seven-hour "flight to nowhere". Priced between AU$566 and AU$2,734, the flight is scheduled to depart from Sydney Domestic Airport on 10 October and return to where it took off from seven hours later. The tickets sold out in just 10 minutes.

“It’s probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history,” Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, said “People clearly miss travel and the experience of flying. If the demand is there, we’ll definitely look at doing more of these scenic flights while we all wait for borders to open.” Qantas says the plane will take the scenic route over Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef, and passengers will also get a chance to view Byron Bay, Kata Tjuta and Sydney harbour from above.


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Originally published: https://www.sbs.com.au

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