19-HOUR FLIGHT Qan­tas to run test flights on world’s long­est route

Fiji Sun - - Aust/nz News - Syd­ney: BBC ne­mani.de­[email protected]­jisun.com.fj

Qan­tas will run test services of its planned 19-hour flights to de­ter­mine whether pas­sen­gers and crew can with­stand the marathon jour­neys.

The air­line wants to op­er­ate non-stop services from Syd­ney to Lon­don and New York by as soon as 2022.

If launched, the services would be the world’s long­est di­rect flights.

The trial flights will be­gin later this year, each car­ry­ing up to 40 pas­sen­gers who will have their health mon­i­tored on the jour­ney. Qan­tas chief ex­ec­u­tive Alan Joyce said di­rect flights from the east coast of Aus­tralia to Lon­don and New York rep­re­sented the “fi­nal fron­tier in avi­a­tion”.

“Ul­tra-long haul fly­ing presents a lot of com­mon sense ques­tions about the com­fort and well­be­ing of pas­sen­gers and crew”, Mr Joyce said in a state­ment.

The air­line said non-stop flights from New York and Lon­don to Syd­ney would take about 19 hours each, sub­ject to wind and weather con­di­tions.

It will con­duct three test flights and par­tic­i­pants - made up of crew and Qan­tas employees - will be fit­ted with wear­able tech­nol­ogy de­vices.

Sleep pat­terns, along with food and bev­er­age con­sump­tion, will be tracked to de­ter­mine the im­pact on health and the body clock. The flights will run on Boe­ing 787-9s. The air­line said it would make a de­ci­sion on whether to start the flights by the end of the year.

Long­est flights

Com­pe­ti­tion in the ul­tra-long haul avi­a­tion mar­ket has in­ten­si­fied in re­cent years, with var­i­ous air­lines fly­ing ex­tended routes. Sin­ga­pore Air­lines launched a near-19 hour jour­ney from Sin­ga­pore to New York last year, which is cur­rently the world’s long­est com­mer­cial flight.

Last year, Qan­tas be­gan a 17hour non-stop ser­vice from Perth to Lon­don, while Qatar runs a 17.5-hour ser­vice be­tween Auck­land and Doha.

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