Qantas’ JFK-SYD record
QANTAS’ record-breaking non-stop direct New York to Sydney test flight touched down yesterday, after 19 hours and 16 minutes in the air.
The service was the first nonstop commercial airline flight from New York to Sydney and is part of Qantas’ ongoing quest to launch commercial flights between the east coast of Australia and New York & London.
The 16,200km journey from John F Kennedy Airport was a research flight to assess the impact a regular service would have on its passengers.
Arriving in Sydney, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the flight was “a really significant first for aviation.
“Hopefully, it’s a preview of a regular service that will speed up how people travel from one side of the globe to the other.”
A total of 49 passengers and crew on board were subject to a series of experiments examining their health and well-being, ranging from monitoring pilot brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness, through to exercise classes for passengers.
Cabin lighting and in-flight meals were also adjusted in an effort to reduce jet lag, with the flight, which departed New York at 9pm, starting with lunch and lights on for the first six hours to match the time of day at the destination, instead of the traditional start with dinner then lights off.
“The research we’re doing should give us better strategies for improving comfort and wellbeing along the way,” Joyce explained.
“What’s already clear is how much time you can save.
“Our regular, one-stop New York to Sydney service (QF12) took off three hours before our direct flight but we arrived a few minutes ahead of it, meaning we saved a significant amount of total travel time by not having to stop,” he added.
Two more research flights are planned as part of the Project Sunrise evaluations – London to Sydney in Nov and another New York to Sydney in Dec.
The flight was conducted on a 787-9 with a restricted load and maximum fuel, with Airbus pitching the A350 and Boeing the 777X to operate Project Sunrise flights on a commercial basis.
A decision on Project Sunrise is expected by the end of the year and if approved, flights would start in 2022/23 and save passengers up to four hours in total travel time - see page four.