Australia's Qantas operates 19 ½-hour London-Sydney flight


Both the London and New York flights are part of Qantas's "Project Sunrise", a goal to introduce direct Sydney-London and Sydney-New York return services by 2022.

The plane on the London-Sydney research flight, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, carried 50 passengers and had fuel remaining for roughly another 1 hour 45 minutes of flight time when it landed.

Asked whether he would be willing to test economy class for 19 hours, Joyce said the 17-hour London-Perth service had the highest customer satisfaction ratings of any route on the Qantas worldwide network.

Data from the flight, which has the auxiliary objective of delivering an airplane fresh from the Boeing factory in Seattle to Qantas's home base, will be used by the airline to help make a case to Australian authorities to grant permission to run the service on a permanent basis.

Departing London Heahtrow at 6 a.m. on Thursday morning, the record-breaking flight - code QF7879 - flew over Germany, Russia, Poland, Belarus, Kazakhstan and China before heading south across the Philippines and Indonesia.

Qantas has been attempting to stretch the boundaries of long-haul travel under its so-called "Project Sunrise".

Captain Helen Trenerry, who led the test flight, said before takeoff on Wednesday that research data including activity monitoring, sleep diaries, cognitive testing and monitoring of melatonin levels would help determine whether the crew mix of one captain, one first officer and two second officers was appropriate or if more experience was needed.

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The 787-9 with a limited number of passengers used on the research flight had a livery celebrating Qantas' centenary.

Joyce said it was now a commercial decision that would look at factors such as getting the right price from Boeing and Airbus, convincing the regulator to allow an extended tour of duty for pilots and deciding on cabin products.

When the airline would place an order would depend on when it could get all the items closed, he said.

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

It was the second time a commercial airline has flown the route.

Thie celebrations s included an announcement by the Royal Australian Mint that five million $1 coins commemorating the anniversary will go into general circulation from February 2020. We started in outback Queensland carrying mail and a few passengers in the 1920s.

Australia's national carrier has already experimented by flying a plane from Los Angeles to Melbourne using mustard seed biofuel.