On Sunday Lufthansa will operate the longest non-stop flight in the company's history under flight number LH2574. The Airbus A350-900 with the registration D-AIXP will fly researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute from Hamburg to Mount Pleasant on the Falkland Islands. The distance is 13.700 kilometers.
The charter flight is scheduled to take off around 21:30 p.m. with 16 crew members and 92 passengers. On board the special flight are scientists and ship crews who, on behalf of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, are going on the 15-hour flight for the upcoming expedition with the research ship Polarstern. The A350-900 will be transferred from Frankfurt to Hamburg on Sunday afternoon. The landing at Hamburg Airport is scheduled for 16:30 p.m. under flight number LH9924. The Airbus with the identification D-AIXP and the name of the city of Braunschweig has only been a member of the Lufthansa fleet since last year.
Crew and passengers in quarantine
Since the hygiene requirements around this flight are extremely high, the Lufthansa crew went into quarantine at the same time as the passengers in a Bremerhaven hotel two weeks ago. During this time they were accompanied by a virtual information and sports program. So they completed a 10.000-step competition, an idea of the Lufthansa crew, to keep fit in the first week of the room quarantine. In addition, there were internal lectures by the accompanying scientists, which were soon followed virtually by several hundred Lufthansa employees.
Crew and tour participants will take a bus from Bremerhaven to Hamburg on Sunday. With a closely coordinated hygiene concept, Hamburg Airport ensures contactless boarding for crew and expedition participants. Some of the terminal areas that have been closed are used so that there is no contact with other travelers. The LH2574 is also a record flight for Hamburg Airport: It is the longest non-stop flight that has ever started on the Hamburg apron.
Overall, the preparations for the special flight are enormous. This begins with additional training for the pilots through to special electronic flight and landing maps. The aircraft is already being catered for in Frankfurt. Two employees are in contact with the crew in Bremerhaven via video to ensure that everything necessary is on board. Reloading is no longer possible at the destination. In addition, cleaning supplies and vacuum cleaners are provided for the Falkland Islands, as local ground crews are not allowed to go on board after landing. The Lufthansa crew therefore also includes technicians and ground staff for on-site handling and maintenance.
“Sleeper's Row” is used
To make the flight comfortable, passengers travel in Business Class and Sleeper's Row. For this purpose, a row of seats in Economy Class is equipped with a mattress, blanket and pillow. The A350-900 also has lighting technology that supports the sleep / night rhythm. The cabin lighting was adjusted again especially for this flight so that the time difference of four hours results in only minimal jet lag.
Scientific staff and crew members will continue their onward journey to Antarctica on the research vessel Polarstern after landing on the Falkland Islands. Due to the legal requirements on the Falkland Islands, the Lufthansa crew will go into quarantine again after landing. The return flight starts on February 3rd under the flight number LH2575 with destination Munich. The landing is expected on Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 14 p.m. Some of the crews on board are the Polarstern, which left Bremerhaven on December 00, 20.