MELBOURNE: The Australian flag carrier Cantas completed a nonstop flight from New York to Sydney on Sunday (October 20th), exploring how the world's longest potential commercial airliner route with nearly 20 hours will affect pilots, crew and passengers.
Carrying 50 passengers and crew, the Qantas Flight 7879 aboard the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner landed in Sydney on Sunday morning after a 16,200-mile journey that lasted 19 hours 16 minutes.
Singapore Airlines 21 and 22, traveling about 18 hours from Singapore to New York, previously held the record for the longest uninterrupted commercial flight. They operate daily between Singapore's Changi Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.
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"This is a truly historic moment for Qantas, a truly historic moment for Australian aviation and a truly historic moment for world aviation," said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who took over the flight after landing.
As demand for air travel increases and aircraft performance improves, carriers are increasingly demanding ultra-long journeys. The International Air Traffic Association (IATA) expects world passenger numbers to rise from 4.6 billion this year to 8.2 billion by 2037.
To give the aircraft the required range, the Kantas flight took off with maximum fuel, with only a few passengers, limited cargo luggage and cargo.
The aim was to collect data, with a team of researchers to monitor, among other things, lighting, activity, sleeping and passenger consumption and crew melatonin levels. They also followed the patterns of pilots' brain waves, fitted for flight with brain-tracking devices.
The aim of the research was, Cantas said in a statement, to increase health and wellness, minimize aircraft backlog and identify optimal crew rest and work periods.
"The flight was very successful with two components – the first was exploration," Qantas captain John Golding said.
"And also the feat of distance – that flight was 16,200km last night. We were in the air for 19 hours and 16 minutes, and arrived here in Sydney with a comfortable 70 minutes of fuel. "
The airline is also planning to test nonstop flights from London to Sydney and expects to decide by the end of the year whether to start the routes, which will start in 2022 or 2023.