Airline launches ‘flights to nowhere’ for school trips

A Japanese airline has become the latest to join the trend for “flights to nowhere” by organising special trips just for schools.

Peach Aviation, a budget subsidiary of All Nippon Airways (ANA), joined the fray after being contacted by the Kansai Sky Friends Association, a group composed of local elementary and junior high school students with an interest in aviation.

Takeaki Mori, chief operating officer of Peach Aviation, said before the flight: “To make effective use of our aircraft and earn revenue, we thought it would be beneficial to enter the pleasure flight business.”

Its first flight departed from Kansai International Airport in Osaka on Sunday with 120 people on board, including those from the association.

Passengers spent two hours in the air, flying over the regions of Shikoku and Kyushu, before returning to Osaka. While on board, the children learned about the work done by pilots and cabin crew.

Following the success of the flight, the airline is planning to run more school trips, The Japan Times reports.

It’s not the first time that a Japanese airline has launched a “flight to nowhere” after being approached by aviation enthusiasts.

Fans of ANA chartered a flight with the airline just last month, with passengers paying upwards of 30,000 JPY (£222) for a 90-minute trip.

A number of other airlines around the world have also launched their own pleasure flights while the coronavirus pandemic and accompanying travel restrictions continue to dampen demand.

Qantas was the first to launch one, with a seven-hour scenic route over Australian landmarks including Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef.

There were 134 seats up for grabs on the Boeing 787 aircraft, priced between $575 (£445) and $2,765 (£2,145) depending on the class of ticket.

Despite never stopping en route, the airline is said to have sold all the seats on board in just 10 minutes.

But the trend, seen as a much-needed source of revenue for airlines, has been condemned by environmental campaigners.

“It’s a real indication of our addiction to flying that we would board a flight to nowhere,” Anna Hughes, director of Flight Free UK, previously told The Independent.

“We’re often told that we can’t live without flights because of what they give us in terms of experiencing and understanding other places and cultures. But all these flights give us is a shedload of emissions – something we can well do without at this crucial time for the climate.”

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