Ready for a 19-hour flight? Qantas to run test flights on world’s longest route

The dream of flying non-stop from London to Sydney seems coming true as Qantas takes a step further in running test flights on world’s longest route. The Australian carrier will run three ultra-long-haul research flights — amounting to about 19 hours each, to see how passengers and crew can handle the total journey. With its success, Qantas will operate non-stop services from Sydney to London and New York by as soon as 2022. The proposed  routes are part of ‘Operation Sunrise’, the long-haul project of Qantas, which plans to provide non-stop air links between Australia’s east coast and New York and London.

Ultra-long-haul test flights on world’s longest route

The Flying Kangaroo will operate three test flights of 19hrs each, this autumn in October to test human endurance. Flights on new Boeing 787-9s will carry 40 passengers, mostly airline staff as well as scientists and minimal luggage. All passengers and crew will be equipped with wearable technology devices to monitor their sleep patterns, food and drink consumption, and to see how lighting, physical movement and inflight entertainment impact their health. Also, researchers will be recording melatonin levels of pilots before, during and after the flights, as well as track their brain wave patterns and alertness. The Australian flag carrier has already used its Perth to London route to test shift patterns. It will also test variations on food choices, separate areas for stretching and different entertainment options. However, successful test flights would fire the starting gun on a race between the US firm Boeing and its European rival, Airbus, to sell Qantas their new ultra-long-range aircraft, the 777X and the A350 respectively.

Non-stop flight from New York to Sydney

According to Qantas, no commercial airline has ever flown direct from New York to Australia. The airline has been chasing these routes since 2017. It flew non-stop from London to Sydney in 1989 to mark the entry into service of the Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet, but with only 23 people on board in order to preserve fuel. While Qantas’s test flights might sound mind-boggling to air travelers, the number of super long flights has been growing in past recent years. Currently, Singapore Airlines operates the world’s longest flight, between Singapore and Newark, a flight it had previously operated until 2013. Travel time on that route can be up to 18 hours and 45 minutes, though the inaugural flight in October 2018 was shorter, at 17 hours and 52 minutes.

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