Qantas completes 19-hour test flight from New York to Sydney

Qantas has completed a commercial non-stop research flight from New York to Sydney, resembling the world’s longest ever flight at 19 hours and 16 minutes.

Australia’s national airline carried 49 passengers on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, conducting several tests to assess the effects of ultra long-haul trips on crew fatigue and jet lag for travellers.

The tests included monitoring pilots’ brain waves, melatonin levels, and alertness. Exercise classes for passengers in economy and business class were also offered during the 16,200 km journey.

Professor Marie Carroll from the University of Sydney was among the passengers on Qantas flight QF7879, and said she felt ‘amazingly good’ after landing and expected ‘minimal jet lag’.

“I expect that the passengers will have a normal day today and a normal night’s sleep tonight,” she added. “It’s all an experiment to see if airlines can adjust their schedule of food, beverages, exercise and lighting to be in sync with the destination time.”

Meanwhile, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce hailed the voyage as ‘a really historic moment’ for aviation.

The flight was part of a programme Qantas calls ‘Project Sunrise’, which includes a series of test flights as it looks to establish direct commercial services on marathon routes from the United States and United Kingdom to Australia.

Two more research flights are planned – London to Sydney in November, and New York to Sydney in December.