Qantas Tests 19.5-Hour Flight

London-Sydney flight equaled distance record airline set in 1989
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 15, 2019 2:48 AM CST
Qantas Tests 19.5-Hour Flight
In this photo provided by Australian airliner Qantas, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner arrives at Sydney airport in Sydney, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019.   (James Morgan/Qantas via AP)

Australia’s national carrier Qantas on Friday successfully completed a 19.5-hour non-stop flight from London to Sydney, which was used to run a series of tests to assess the effects of ultra long-haul flights on crew fatigue and passenger jetlag. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner took off from London’s Heathrow Airport on Thursday morning and touched down at Sydney Airport 45 minutes behind schedule at 12:30pm on Friday. The 11,060-mile journey was part of Project Sunrise—Qantas’ goal to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from Australia’s east coast cities of Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne to London and New York, the AP reports.

Last month, Qantas completed the first non-stop flight from New York to Sydney, which took 19 hours and 16 minutes. Another New York to Sydney flight is expected next month to round out the project. There were 52 people on board, mostly Qantas employees, including four pilots led by Captain Helen Trenerry, CNN reports. The passengers participated in various experiments, including using wearable technology devices to track sleep patterns, food and drink intake, lighting, and physical movement. A final decision on whether the ultra-long haul flights will become a commercial reality is expected by the year’s end, with the service potentially launching by 2022. A Qantas Boeing 747 flew the same route in 1989, with a journey time of 20 hours and 9 minutes.

(More Qantas stories.)

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