Qan­tas’ JFK-SYD record

Travel Daily - - Front Page -

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.

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