Qantas tests the longest commercial flight in the world between New York and Sydney

Australian airline Qantas conducted a non-stop test flight from New York-Sydney on Sunday to evaluate the effects of the longest potential commercial flight – a journey of nearly 20 hours – on pilots, crew and passengers.

Flight 7879 from Qantas landed in Sydney Sunday morning after a 16,200-kilometer journey that lasted 19 hours and 16 minutes. The aircraft, a new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, was carrying 50 passengers and crew.

“This is a truly historic moment for Qantas, for Australian aviation and for world aviation,” said Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, after landing.

With the rapid increase in demand for air transport and improved aircraft performance, carriers are increasingly interested in ultra-long haul travel. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects the number of passengers per year to rise from $4.6 billion this year to $8.2 billion by 2037.

No commercial aircraft can yet fly such a distance with a device loaded with passengers and goods. To give the plane the necessary range, the Qantas flight took off with maximum fuel, only a few passengers, a limited amount of baggage and no other cargo.

The purpose of the test flight was to collect a variety of data – under the supervision of a team of researchers – on the lighting, activity, sleep patterns, and consumption patterns of passengers, as well as melatonin levels. the crew. They also followed the brainwaves of the pilots, who were hooked up for the occasion on brain monitoring devices.

The goal of the research was, according to a statement by Joyce, “to improve health and well-being, minimize jet lag, and identify optimal rest and working times for the crew.”

“The flight was very successful on two counts: the first being the research, and the other, the distance,” according to Captain Sean Golding.

“This flight last night was 16,200 kilometers. We flew for 19 hours and 16 minutes, and we landed here in Sydney with fuel for 70 minutes,” he added.

The company plans to test a non-stop flight from London to Sydney and decide by the end of the year whether to offer such flights, which would begin in 2022 or 2023.

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