Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 December 2019

Qantas completes world's longest non-stop flight from London to Sydney

Australian carrier completed its 17,800-kilometre flight on Friday morning with about 1 hour and 45 minutes worth of fuel remaining

The world’s longest non-stop flight from London Heathrow to Sydney Airport has landed.

The flight is the second of Qantas’ research flights designed to explore the effects of jet lag over longer distances.

The London to Sydney flight is the longest in the world in terms of distance.

Flight time recorded by Qantas was 19 hours and 19 minutes.

However, Flight Radar 24 initially logged the time as 19 hours and 18 minutes.

It had been expected to be just over 19 hours, similar to Qantas’ first research flight that flew from New York to Sydney four weeks ago.

The London to Sydney flight is 1,500 kilometres longer than the initial test flight, but tailwinds will mean the flying time will be around the same.

Flight number QF7879 took off at 6.10am on Thursday.

Dubbed Project Sunrise, the initiative is part of Qantas' efforts to research the viability of introducing commercial non-stop flights from Australia’s east coast to London and New York.

Alan Joyce, the Qantas CEO, said he saw a "double sunrise" as a passenger aboard the second of three research flights being conducted to help the Australian airline decide on whether to order planes for what would be the world's longest commercial route.

The third and final research flight will repeat the New York to Sydney route in December this year.

"An order could follow into early next year," he said.

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.

Qantas has been considering an order for either an ultra-long range version of the Airbus A350-1000 or Boeing's 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.

Captain Helen Trenerry, who led the test flight, said before take-off on Wednesday that research data including activity monitoring, sleep diaries, cognitive testing and monitoring of melatonin levels would help determine whether the crew mix of one captain, one first officer and two second officers was appropriate or if more experience was needed.

"They will be very, very long flights and fatiguing over the long term," she said, adding she would like to see regulations in place to limit the trips to around one a month for pilots.

After the flight on Friday she told reporters she would "absolutely" do the flight again but "I don't know about often".

Updated: November 15, 2019 10:16 AM

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