Qantas is testing its next ultra-long-haul research flight as part of its Project Sunrise today. The flight will depart London at 6am local time and fly directly to Sydney, and the 17,800km flight is expected to take 19 and a half hours. It’s the second research flight to be undertaken, after last month’s Sydney-to-New York direct test flight. We’re inching closer, people!
The research flights will aim to minimise jet lag and figure out the best rest and work patterns for crew, and build on the findings of the first flight. A third test flight in December will fly New York to Sydney, before the airline makes decisions about whether to continue with the aim of launching these flights commercially.[related_articles]78312[/related_articles]
We say bring it on – anything that can cut down on the nearly full-day-with-fussy-stopover flight to these two destinations (and more, ahem Paris) would be welcome. Qantas is testing the safety of these flights before committing further. A final yes-or-no decision is expected by the end of the year, and the flights could start as early as 2023 if approved.
The London to Sydney flight comes almost 100 years after the very first scheduled Australia to London flight occurred, in 1919 – it took 28 days to get to Darwin. Qantas already operates a direct Australia to London flight, departing from Perth, which takes 17 hours – and has the highest customer satisfaction rating of any route.
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Qantas’ measures to help the passengers adjust to the flight will include high-GI supper, special cabin lighting and temperature, as well as stretching and meditation.[related_articles]50698[/related_articles]
The second flight “will involve passengers eating supper at breakfast time, with the aim of encouraging them to sleep at 10am in the morning London time to help avoid light and reset their body clock to Sydney time,” said researcher Professor Corinne Caillaud from the Charles Perkins Centre.
Given I sleep very well on planes in general, and am moving to New York very soon, I say – what are we waiting for?
(Lead image: IR Stone / Shutterstock)