world of aviation logo

A380 formation flight marks Qantas-Emirates alliance

written by WOFA | March 30, 2013

The "Seismic" formation flight. (Lee Gatland)

A formation flight by Qantas and Emirates Airbus A380s over Sydney Harbour on Sunday has marked the formal commencement of the two airlines’ ground breaking alliance partnership.

A Qantas and an Emirates A380 (VH-OQJ and A6-EDY) flew over the harbour at about 1,500ft at about 10.30am. Qantas says it was the first time two airline operated A380s will have flown in formation, and that the flight is “believed” to be the first time two different airlines have flown in formation together.

“There has been a huge amount of planning which has been necessary to make this possible including seeking approval from safety regulators in both Australia and the United Arab Emirates,”  Qantas chief pilot Captain Philip Green said.

“Pilots from both airlines have conducted dozens of special simulator training sessions since January this year. Emirates pilots came to Australia earlier this month to conduct joint sessions in Qantas’s A380 simulator in Sydney and conducted several more practice runs over the past few days.”

The aircraft used the callsign ‘Seismic’ for the flight, as Emirates president Tim Clark has said the alliance between the two airlines “will cause a seismic shift in global aviation”.

Lee Gatland photo

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the formation flight involved 520 hours of planning and seven, four-hour simulation sessions involving pilots from both airlines – “a huge amount of effort for just those few minutes in the air. I think that is a microcosm of the type of planning and the type of work that has gone into the entire alliance.”

The inaugural QF1 to London via Dubai was due to depart Sydney Sunday afternoon.



  • pez


    Very cool. I wish I could have been there. Great pics. Wonder if Seth J was anywhere near there?? 🙂

  • sharon


    I work near the airport and was lucky enough to watch the planes,what a fantastic sight, truly awesome and hopefully a great partnership will follow. Good Luck to both airlines

  • Madár Fokker


    “the flight is “believed” to be the first time two different airlines have flown in formation together.” That’s not true. 20th of August, 2006 Malév and Sky Europe 737’s flew in formation low over the Danube river in Budapest, Hungary.
    Here’s the video:


  • Dane


    I think it is supposed to be the read “the first time two A380’s from different airlines have flown in formation together.” Still an impressive feat, none the less

  • Martin Dixon


    Lucky it was 10.30 am, not pm as SYD’s curfew would have seen them both struggling to get down on time before having to divert to curfew free MEL.

  • Chris


    It would be fascinating to know the pilots backgrounds. Any chance they are ex RAAF with experience at this sort of thing?

    • australianaviation.com.au


      We will be detailing the formation flypast in the May edition of Australian Avaition.

Comments are closed.


Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year