Qantas Airways recently completed the world’s longest commercial flight from New York to Sydney, a journey that covered a total distance of 16,200km (10,066 miles) in 19 hours and 16 minutes.
The test flight, which was part of Qatar’s project dubbed Project Sunrise that seeks to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from Australia’s east coast cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York, was also aimed at experimenting the effects of ultra-long-haul travel on people on-board.
The flight on a new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner only had 40 passengers and 10 crew, with restricted baggage, no cargo and maximum fuel so as to minimise weight and give the necessary fuel range.
In order to minimise jet lag and work out the optimum crew work pattern, the airline deployed a team of researchers to monitor lighting and activity, sleep patterns and consumption levels of passengers while keeping an eye on crew melatonin levels and tracked the brain patterns of pilots during the flight.
According to Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, the company intends to run regular flights from Australia’s east coast to New York and London and will make a decision at the end of the year about the viability of the services after two more test flights; from London to Sydney in November ( which will be 500 miles longer) and another from New York to Sydney in December.
Qantas hopes to offer the Project Sunrise flights to the public in 2023.
Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia and is the largest airline by fleet size, international flights and international destinations. It is the third oldest airline in the world, after KLM and Avianca.