The Australian airline Qantas is specializing more and more in distant flights. It is to be said, in extremely distant flights. The company itself calls the project ‘Project Sunrise’.

In this project, research is being carried out into extremely long flights from Australia. Before the flight becomes effective, a team of experts investigates how the human body reacts to such long flights of more than 16 hours. Only a small group of passengers could take part in the first flight. The researchers look at how the passengers behave, both in terms of sleep and in terms of their eating behavior. Of course, this is done during the flight itself using smart technology. 

The project received its first effective scheduled service in 2018. Then Qantas opened a direct connection to Europe, partly to London Heathrow. This is carried out every day and takes 15 to 17 hours. Qantas itself is very enthusiastic about the project as the Perth-London route exceeded all expectations from the start. Every flight is almost fully booked and the route is immediately profitable, which is an exception in aviation.

On 20 October, Qantas carried out her second extremely long flight. This time the destination was New York. The aircraft, a Boeing 787-9, with which these types of flights are carried out, departed from Sydney for a flight of approximately 16000km. No less than 19 hours and 16 minutes later, the aircraft arrived safely in the Big Apple.

Today, November 14th, is another first. Around 6 a.m. (GMT) a Boeing 787-9 from Qantas departed from London in the direction of Sydney. With that they do another shovel on top of the distance. The aircraft hangs in the air for no less than 19 hours and 30 minutes to cover a distance of 17800km. However, this is a guess. With a lot of tail wind, this flight can be a lot shorter.

Qantas not only wants to collect data to see how to reduce jet lag, but by 2022 the Australian airline also wants to effectively operate direct flights to Europe and the United States. The first step is to look at the Lonen-Sydney and New York-Sydney routes. After that we will also look at flights from Brisbane and Melbourne. Also in Europe, Paris and Frankfurt are high on the wish list.

Because Boeing now has a monopoly, as it were, Airbus also wants to take advantage of this monopoly. Qantas asked both aircraft manufacturers to make a proposal. Airbus proposed to build an Airbus A350-1000ULR (Ultra Long Range) for the Australians. Boeing, on the other hand, offers the new 777-8. Until now, the world’s longest scheduled flight has been operated by an Airbus A350-900ULR from Singapore Airlines. This flight takes 18 hours and 30 minutes. Airbus developed this A350 especially for Singapore Airlines, which is internally equipped with Premium Economy seats and Business seats (picture below).

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