Qantas Airways Ltd completed a 19-hour 19 minute non-stop test flight from London to Sydney on Friday as it nears a decision on whether to order planes for what would be the world’s longest-ever commercial route.
“We saw a double sunrise,” Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said after stepping off the flight, which followed a similar one from New York to Sydney last month.
Qantas has named the project “Project Sunrise” after the airline’s double sunrise endurance flights during World War Two, which remained airborne long enough to see two sunrises.
The plane on the London-Sydney research flight, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, carried 50 passengers and had fuel remaining for roughly another 1 hour 45 minutes of flight time when it landed.
The airline needs to get pilots to agree on contract terms and a sign-off from Australia’s aviation regulator to launch the flights by 2023.
Qantas has been considering an order for either an ultra-long range version of Airbus SE’s A350-1000 or the Boeing Co 777-8, although the latter plane’s entry into service has been delayed and so Boeing has put together an alternative offer to deal with that.
ABOUT THE DIRECT LONDON-SYDNEY FLIGHT
- QF 7879 flight London to Sydney flight time was 19 hours and 19 minutes. Touch down at Sydney International airport was 12:28pm
- The flight was operated by a brand-new Boeing 787-9 registration VH ZNJ, named Longreach.
- The service was a re-purposed delivery flight. Rather than flying from Boeing’s factory in Seattle back to Australia empty, the aircraft was positioned in London to simulate one of the Project Sunrise routes under consideration by Qantas. All carbon emissions were offset.
- The flight departed London’s Heathrow Airport and flew across 11 countries including England, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Philippines and Indonesia before crossing the Australian coast near Darwin, tracking south east across Australia towards Sydney.
- Remaining fuel upon landing was approximately 6300kg which translates to about 1 hour 45 minutes of flight time