Non-stop flights from Sydney to New York could soon be a reality. Qantas just announced the testing of the ambitious 19-hour journey. The trial flights will begin later this year with the goal of having the flight up and running by 2020.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce announced the test flights on Thursday, saying they were a chance to perfect the route and improve any mistakes.
“Ultra-long haul flying presents a lot of common sense questions about the comfort and wellbeing of passengers and crew,” CEO Alan Joyce said in a press statement
Qantas’ Project Sunrise research flights
The Australian airline will receive deliveries of 787-9 aircraft in October, November, and December. The plan is to research passenger and crew health and while onboard these flights. Only 40 passengers will be onboard the test flights, making for a lighter plane which will allow it to go further. Mostly Qantas staff will participate in these flights.
The aim is for Qantas to study the effects of 20 hours of continuous flight on the body. Everything from sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption to the effects of light, meals, and movement around the cabin will be tracked. This will be done to learn the best ways to minimize the jet lag passengers usually experience during long hours of travel. The passengers will be fitted with wearable technology devices that will allow medical experts to track their changes in real-time.
Pilots will wear a special device that tracks brain wave patterns and monitors alertness.
“For customers, the key will be minimizing jet lag and creating an environment where they are looking forward to a restful, enjoyable flight. For the crew, it’s about using scientific research to determine the best opportunities to promote alertness when they are on duty and maximize rest during their downtime on these flights,” CEO Alan Joyce
In all of aviation history, this move from Qantas is a first. The data they could collect would be revolutionary for long haul travel. If you had the opportunity could you fly more than 20 hours in one sitting?
A lot of airlines are flying extended routes. If the Qantas test run is a success will be the longest one yet. Currently, the longest commercial flight is Singapore-New York. Economy bookings are not available on the route. it will be interesting to see if Qantas will offer them.
Currently, the longest operating routes are these: