Qantas’s first ultra long-haul London-Sydney “research flight” safely touched down in Sydney on Friday (14 November) – some 19 hours 19 minutes after taking off from Heathrow.
The direct flight, the second of Qantas’s three proposed Project Sunrise research services, follows the Australian carrier’s non-stop New York-Sydney flight completed last month. Project Sunrise’s ambitions include direct London-Perth and London-Sydney routes.
The aim of the flights is to assess crew and passenger wellbeing on ultra long-haul services – 53 people were onboard the service. The flight reduces the travel time between Heathrow and Sydney by around two hours compared to existing one-stop services to Australia’s east coast.
More than 1,000 Qantas staff greeted the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, complete with special livery, when it touched down marking the start of 12 months celebrations leading up to Qantas’s centenary next year.
According to Qantas, the aircraft arrived with enough fuel left for nearly two hours additional flying. It is the second time Qantas has flown the route non-stop after it used an empty Boeing 747-400 to complete the journey back in 1989.