The longest non-stop passenger flight has landed in Sydney

Monday, 21 Oct, 2019

Qantas, an Australian airline, has made history after it completed a test of the longest non-stop commercial passenger flight as part of research on how the journey could affect pilots, crew and passengers.

Australian airline Qantas tested the world's longest flight, a record-breaking 19 hour and 16-minute flight, from NY to Sydney.

Qantas Airways today began what will be three months of testing for its proposed "ultra long haul" flight - a 20-hour non-stop journey between Sydney and NY or London.

Once that happens, it would be the world's longest commercial passenger air service, beating current routes of Singapore to NY, and Doha to Auckland.

They were then kept awake until night time fell in eastern Australia.

Six hours later, they were served a high-carbohydrate meal and were told to avoid screens.

After arriving in Sydney, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: "This is a really significant first for aviation".

"We were doing that on the aircraft coming in, passengers loved it", he said, adding that the flight did not feel as long as 19 hours.

Scientists from two Australian universities will be on board during the maiden 19-hour flight to monitor passengers' sleep patterns, melatonin levels and food consumption.

The flight was carried out as part of Project Sunrise - Qantas' goal to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from the east coast of Australia (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) to London and NY.

"The initial study findings showed 54% of people surveyed used ear plugs or noise cancelling headsets to help them sleep on long haul flights".

"Months of flight planning has gone in to determining the optimum flight path, including running daily plans to establish wind and weather patterns", said the airline on its website.

The Australian and International Pilots Association, which represents Qantas pilots, has raised concerns about whether pilots will be able to get enough quality rest during ultralong-range flights so that they can maintain peak performance.

Four pilots were on rotation throughout the flight, with two other pilots in the cabin.

In addition, cameras will be mounted in the cockpit for the flight duration to record alertness cues and operational activities.

Two of the flights will take off from NY and one from London and all will head to Sydney.

Two more research flights are planned as part of the project evaluations - London to Sydney in November and another from NY to Sydney in December.

A decision on Project Sunrise is expected by the end of the year.

Qantas is planning to launch commercial flights connecting the Australian east coast cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with NY and London by 2022, which would save passengers up to four hours in total travel time.