Qantas is testing effects of ultra-long-haul flights on people

Qantas is testing effects of ultra-long-haul flights on people

The tests will help the airline with establishing regular, non-stop commercial routes from the east coast of Australia to London and New York

Can you imagine spending over 19 hours onboard a plane? With a new project launched by the Australian carrier Qantas, this might soon become an everyday reality.

The airline has recently announced three ultra-long-haul test flights to see how the crew and passengers would handle the unprecedented long-haul connection.

Over the next three months, Qantas will use new Boeing 787-9s to represent the world’s first flight by a commercial airline directly from New York to Sydney. it will also represent only the second time a commercial airline has flown directly from London to Sydney.


The test flights are part of Qantas’ operation called Project Sunrise. The carrier’s goal is to operate regular, non-stop commercial routes from the east coast of Australia (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) to London and New York.

According to the Qantas’ press release, each of the test flights will have a maximum of 40 people, including crew, in order to minimise weight and give the necessary fuel range. They also aim to make carbon emissions from the flights fully offset.

People in the cabin will be mostly Qantas employees. They will receive wearable technology devices and take part in specific experiences at varying stages of the flights. 

“Scientists and medical experts from the Charles Perkins Centre will monitor sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption, lighting, physical movement and inflight entertainment to assess the impact on health, well-being and body clock,” the press release states. 

The final frontier of aviation

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the flights would give medical experts the chance to do real-time research that would translate into health and well-being benefits.

Qantas will use new Boeing 787-9s for the three test flights — christopheronglv / Shutterstock

“Ultra-long haul flying presents a lot of common sense questions about the comfort and wellbeing of passengers and crew. These flights are going to provide invaluable data to help answer them.

“For customers, the key will be minimising jet lag and creating an environment where they are looking forward to a restful, enjoyable flight. For the crew, it’s about using scientific research to determine the best opportunities to promote alertness when they are on duty and maximise rest during their downtime on these flights.

“Flying non-stop from the East Coast of Australia to London and New York is truly the final frontier in aviation, so we’re determined to do all the groundwork to get this right.”

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