After 19 hours and 19 minutes in the air, Qantas’s direct flight from London has touched down in Sydney.
The long haul flight, which left Heathrow Airport at 6am on Thursday local time, landed in Sydney at 12.28pm on Friday after travelling a staggering 17,750 kilometres.
The 52 people on board the QF 7879 Boeing 787 Dreamliner, including Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, were treated to two sunrises (one over each wing) as the plane tracked its way across the globe.
The aircraft flew across 11 countries in Europe and Asia, crossing airspace over England, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Philippines and Indonesia before crossing the Australian coast over Darwin at around 9.30am.
Only one other flight has attempted a similarly impressive journey; a near-empty Qantas flight in 1989. This time, all carbon emissions were offset.
The landing marks the official start of Qantas’s year-long 100th birthday celebration, which will culminate in the big event on 16 November 2020. The plane Longreach, named for Qantas’s spiritual hometown, was adorned with a special livery featuring every Qantas logo since 1920.
The flight is the second of three ultra long-haul research flights, known as Project Sunrise, focused on improving crew and passenger wellbeing on these lengthy jaunts.
A non-stop New York to Sydney flight (clocking in at 19 hours and 16 minutes) was trialled in October with 49 people on board, with another flight on the same route set for later this year.
Research from such flights have already begun informing the airline’s on-ground and in-air strategies for reducing jet lag. For example, passengers on Qantas’s longest commercial journey, the Perth to London flight, now have access to light therapy and a wellness studio in the lounge to prep for the extended journey.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 19 hours 19 minutes total flight time
- 17,750 kilometres flown
- 11 countries flown over
- 2 sunrises seen on board
- 52 people on board
- 6300kg of fuel upon landing (about 1 hour 45 minutes of flight time)
SEE ALSO: Qantas is Turning 100 in 2020