Qantas Airways has completed the first of three test flights for its ultra-long-haul flights. Dubbed the Project Sunrise flights, Qantas is trying to establish nonstop flights between the east coast of Australia and New York as well as London. Each of these flights would take almost 20 hours of flying time to complete and would be considered the longest in the world.
The test flight from New York to Sydney was a success. It was flown on a brand-new Boeing 787-9 and carried 49 people in total, including crew. There was no freight on the plane. Using over 220,000 pounds of fuel, the flight successfully landed in Sydney 19 hours and 16 minutes later.
The flight had four pilots to operate the plane in shifts, while the passengers consisted of crew, medical experts as well as volunteer passengers. Passengers and crew members were monitored for a week prior to the flight. They will also be monitored for two weeks afterward to see if there were issues with jet lag or other medical conditions associated with the ultra-long flight.
At this time, there are not any jets available that could carry enough fuel to move a full-capacity plane, with its passengers, cargo and luggage, and supplies needed for the flight. Qantas is working with both Boeing and Airbus to try and achieve this lofty goal. The airline hopes to have nonstop flights from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York running by 2023.
Qantas stated that the airline is used to facing challenges for long flying times. After all, Australia is far away from just about everywhere. However, it believes its end-goal is achievable and that passengers from around the world will love the experience of traveling such far distance and only having to take one single plane ride.
Qantas' next research flight will operate from London to Sydney in November while the final research flight from New York to Sydney will take place in December.