SYDNEY, Australia – Australia’s national carrier has successfully tested the longest non-stop commercial passenger flight.
The Boeing 787-9, carrying 49 passengers and crew, flew from New York to Sydney in 19 hours 16 minutes.
“This is a really significant first for aviation,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
“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.”
The airline said the flight was used to run a series of experiments to assess health and well-being onboard.
“Tests ranged from monitoring pilot brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness, through to exercise classes for passengers.”
Data from the experiments will be used help shape the crew rostering and customer service of Qantas’ ultra long haul flights in future, the airline added.
“We had a lot of interest from air traffic controllers as we crossed through different airspace because of the uniqueness of this flight,” said Capt. Sean Golding, who led the four pilots operating the service.
“We also had a special sign off and welcome home from the control towers in New York and Sydney, which you don’t get every day.”
Qantas has plans for two more research flights – London to Sydney in November, and New York to Sydney in December.
Currently, Singapore Airlines operates the longest commercial flight — from Singapore to New York, which takes 18 hours and 25 minutes.