Published: Sat, November 16, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

A non-stop 19-hour flight to Sydney has taken off from London

A non-stop 19-hour flight to Sydney has taken off from London

Qantas's third and final research flight leaves NY for Sydney in December.

The 17,800-kilometer (11,060-mile) journey was part of Project Sunrise - Qantas' goal to operate regular, nonstop commercial flights from Australia's east coast cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to London and NY.

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.

It could be a game-changer for the Australian airline - analysts forecast non-stop flights from Sydney to London and NY - could add over 120 million U.S. dollars to annual profits.

The direct flight reduced total travel time by around three hours compared with current one-stop services.

"The frequent flyers that do this regularly have all said the same thing: they would absolutely do this, " he said, noting that this had also been the reaction from UK journalists on the flight and Australia's High commissioner to the UK, George Brandis. However, that plane did not have any passengers, and was mostly empty to save fuel it didn't even have a full set of seats.

The airline's chief executive Alan Joyce said previously: "Ultra-long haul flying presents a lot of common sense questions about the comfort and wellbeing of passengers and crew".

The journey lasted 19 hours and 19 minutes, and shattered two records, becoming the longest commercial airline passenger flight for both distance and duration, CNN reports.

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Mark Sedgwick, the president of the Australian and International Pilots Association representing Qantas pilots, said more research would be needed to inform broader fatigue-management plans.

The flight from London Heathrow flew across 11 countries including England, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Philippines and Indonesia before crossing the Australian coast near Darwin and tracking southeast across Australia towards Sydney.

It is due to make a final decision on the viability of Project Sunrise as a commercial flight route by the end of the year.

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

This is the second time in history that a civil airline has flown without a stop.

Among those at Sydney airport to greet QF7879 were prime minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese, as well as Qantas chairman Richard Goyder.

The Qantas centenary circulation coin.

Australia's national carrier is not only the world's oldest continually operating airline, but it also started operating to New Zealand in 1940, the same year Air New Zealand's forerunner, Teal, started.

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