The airline will be making history today as their flight from Sydney will now go via Darwin and then make its way to London Heathrow. The unprecedented move is a desperate bid to try and rescue Brits stranded in Australia. The airline’s QF1 flight normally flies daily from Heathrow via Singapore.
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However, Singapore is now denying all airlines coming into the country.
So in a history-making move Qantas is instead making its first ever flight from Darwin directly to the UK capital.
The flight refuelled in Darwin for 90 mins after coming from Sydney and then took off at 11.46pm local time.
The Airbus A380 will make the 8,629-mile flight in 16 hours and 40 minutes.
The temporary route will only operate this week before Qantas suspends all international flights until May 31.
It is believed to be the first time a plane has flown direct from Darwin to London.
Onboard the plane are 20 customers with tour operator Titan Travel.
The holidaymakers were halfway through a huge 30-day Grand Tour of Australia which was cut short after the UK Government announced that all British nationals should try and return home immediately.
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It comes as NHS nurses accused the Government of abandoning them after they were left stranded in Australia due to flight cancellations.
Laura Mclaughlin, who has lived in Sydney for three years, organised a group of aged 50+ NHS staff who wanted to return to the UK to rejoin the health service to help combat coronavirus.
Ms McLaughlin worked as an accident and emergency nurse in a hospital in Southport, Merseyside.
She said she had been in contact with former colleagues in the UK about returning to help them out because the NHS was so short-staffed.
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She managed to secure a flight on the Darwin to Heathrow flight but she said there were doctors who are still looking to return to the UK.
She said: “We’ve been to the embassy, trying to get hold of people to help us, but we’re just getting no answers.
“I don’t think it’s good enough.
“We need to be prioritising flights for the NHS key workers to be getting home to be helping the pandemic.
“I have hopefully got this flight confirmed for tomorrow, but it’s still helping all the other people along the way trying to get home.”
She also said that one-way flights to the UK were now costing upwards of £6,600 which most nurses cannot afford.
She added: “We’re really keen to come and help but we’re all feeling a little bit like everyone has turned their back on us at the moment.”
Qantas also made history in March 2018 with its first direct flight from Perth to London.
The mammoth 9,009-mile journey took just over 17 hours.
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