Qantas tests direct flight between London and Sydney


Qantas has launched its second ultra-long-haul flight test as parts of the Project Sunrise to help gather data on passenger and crew health.

The brand new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registered VH-ZNJ, is carrying out flight QF7870 from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Sydney Airport (SYD). The 19-hour non-stop flight is Qantas’ second test to gather scientific data on fatigue and other medical effects for crews and passengers alike. 

The flight will be the second time in history that a direct commercial flight between Sydney and London is operated. The first one was a ferry flight in 1989, flown by a Qantas Boeing 747-400.

The first Project Sunrise test took place on October 18, 2019. It flew between New York and Sydney with 49 people on board, a journey of nearly 20,000 kilometers that it accomplished in around 20 hours.

Similarly to the first test flight, researchers from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre as well as the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity (Alertness CRC) will be present onboard the non-stop Dreamliner flight from London to Sydney in order to collect passenger and crew data.

“While the flight is over 1,500 kilometers further than New York to Sydney, the duration is expected to be similar due to prevailing tail winds between London and Sydney,” according to a statement by the carrier.

Project Sunrise aims at preparing ultra-long-haul flights from airports on the east coast of Australia to New York, London, Paris, Cape Town, and Rio de Janeiro. The call for tenders between Airbus and Boeing to provide a 300-seat, four-class aircraft capable of making these connections without refueling is still ongoing.

Currently, the longest commercial air route in the world is a connection between New York and Singapore launched by Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY) in 2018. Operated on an A350-900 ULR, it lasts about 18 hours.

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