Qantas Creates History With Successful 19-Hour Non-Stop Flight
Australian carrier Qantas created history after the longest non-stop commercial passenger flight touched down in Sydney on Sunday. The over 19 hours flight was a part of the research to study how such a long and non-stop journey could affects passengers, crew members, and pilots. The Australian carrier’s Boeing 787-9 took 19 hours and 16 minutes to cover the distance of 16,200-km (10,066-mile) between New York and Sydney. There were around 49 passengers and crew on-board flight QF7879 to minimise the weight as it doesn’t have the range to complete this route with a full load of passengers. The national flag carrier departed from New York on Friday evening with 101,000 kilograms or 222,900 pounds of fuel for the non-stop journey to Sydney. The aircraft used in this journey was brand new, having been delivered from Boeing’s assembly line near Seattle.
This was the first of three test flights planned by the company to manage pilot fatigue and passengers’ jetlag during long journeys, said Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce. It partnered with two universities of Australia to observe how jetlag affected the health of crew members and passengers as they crossed multiple time zones. Qantas is planning to test a non-stop flight from London to Sydney next month. The Australian carrier is expected to decide on whether to start its flight on these routes by the end of 2019. If everything goes as planned, the company is expected to start operating services in 2022 or 2023.
After boarding the flight, watches of all the passengers were set to Sydney time. The crew used caffeine, a spicy meal and other ways to keep passengers awake until night fell in eastern Australia to reduce their jetlag. Six hours later they were served a high-carbohydrate meal and asked to avoid screens and lights were dimmed to encourage them to sleep. Brain waves, melatonin levels are some of the tests that were performed on-board to analyse the impact of crossing so many time zones on the human body. There were four pilots who were rotated between flying duties. They also wore devices to track their alertness and brain waves. This will definitely increase the competition in the ultra-long-haul aviation market as more and more airlines are flying extended routes. Last year, Singapore Airlines launched a near-19 hour service from Singapore to New York. Qatar Airways is already a 17.5-hour flight between Auckland and Doha.