Longest non-stop flight completed by Qantas

Posted by Leila Stein on 21 October 2019

Australia’s Qantas airline has set a record for the longest non-stop commercial flight from New York to Sydney.

The Boeing 787-9 flew for 19 hours and 16 minutes. The flight, called ‘Project Sunrise’ achieved a longstanding goal of connecting the major hubs in the US and Australia without having to stop-over and refuel.

In addition, the flight was used to test the health and well-being of passengers onboard such a long flight. The 49 passengers and crew were part of a series of tests run throughout the flight. This data will be used to shape crew rostering and customer service on future Qantas ultra-long-haul flights.

‘We know ultra long haul flights pose some extra challenges but that’s been true every time technology has allowed us to fly further. The research we’re doing should give us better strategies for improving comfort and wellbeing along the way,’ said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce in a statement.

Different tests were performed while monitoring passenger and crew brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness. This even included exercise classes for passengers. Cabin lighting and in-flight meals were also adjusted in ways that are expected to help reduce jetlag, these were designed by medical researchers and scientists who partnered with Qantas.

‘Overall, we’re really happy with how the flight went and it’s great to have some of the data we need to help assess turning this into a regular service,’ said flight Captain Sean Golding. ‘We had a lot of interest from air traffic controllers as we crossed through different airspace because of the uniqueness of this flight. We also had a special sign off and welcome home from the control towers in New York and Sydney, which you don’t get every day.’

Project Sunrise has two more research flights planned. London to Sydney in November and New York to Sydney in December. A final decision on the project, based on the research, is expected at the end of 2020.

Image: Qantas

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