Qantas tests longest non-stop passenger flight

JFK to SYD non-stop

On 20th October 2019 Qantas flight QF7879 arrived in Sydney having flown non-stop from JFK airport, New York. It took 19 hours 16 minutes and was the first non-stop flight of such length for a commercial airline.

With only 49 passengers and crew on board and no cargo it was a research flight. Data from the experiments conduct during the flight will be used to assess health and well-being of passengers and crew on Qantas’ ultra long haul flights.

“We know ultra long haul flights pose some extra challenges but that’s been true every time technology has allowed us to fly further. The research we’re doing should give us better strategies for improving comfort and wellbeing along the way."

Alan Joyce - CEO Qantas Group
Qantas pilots took part in the research - Photo by James D Morgan/Qantas

Tests on board

Tests ranged from monitoring the alertness and brain waves of pilots to melatonin levels. Meals, cabin conditions including lighting and even exercise classes were tried out to optimise passenger health and comfort as well as limiting the effects of jet lag.

There will be two further research flights between now and Christmas 2019; one each from London to Sydney and New York to Sydney. Qantas already operate an ultra long haul flight between London and Perth. Emirates fly a 17.5 hour flight from Auckland to Dubai and Qatar Airways fly an Auckland to Doha route of similar length. The current longest non-stop flight is Singapore Airlines 18.5 hour flight from Singapore to New York.

Arriving in Sydney
Arrival in Sydney - Photo by James D Morgan/Qantas

Project Sunrise

The flights are part of the planning for Project Sunrise. Qantas’ goal is to operate viable regular non-stop commercial flights to London and New York from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Regular non-stop flights are unlikely to begin until 2022 or 2023

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