Qantas to run test flights on world's longest route

23 Août, 2019, 02:35 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Qantas will use Boeing 787-9 aircraft for three test flights from Australia's east coast to London and New York

"People in the cabin - mostly Qantas employees - will be fitted with wearable technology devices and take part in specific experiences at varying stages of the approximately 19-hour flights", Qantas said in a statement.

A Qantas spokesman said the airline had chose to hire long-haul cabin crew because of a sustained improvement in the global business in recent months.

If the flight comes to be, it's unlikely to significantly change the aviation industry, he says, pointing to the existing 17-hour flights between Singapore to NY operated by Singapore Airlines.

Qantas will use information from these test flights to gauge the feasibility of launching direct flights to the major cities.

Singapore Airlines launched a near-19 hour journey from Singapore to NY a year ago, which is now the world's longest commercial flight.

Each trip will carry a maximum of 40 people, including the flight crew, in order to keep the plane's weight low enough that it can make the journey without needing to refuel. Another plane will test the London-to-Sydney route. Pilots will wear an EEG (electroencephalogram) device that tracks brain wave patterns and monitors alertness. Two of the flights will take off in NY and go to Sydney, which Qantas says will be the first time a commercial airline flies that route directly.

The flights form part of Qantas' "Project Sunrise", the airline's goal to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to London and NY.

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Project Sunrise - the name is a nod to the Catalina flying boats operating between Perth and the country now known as Sri Lanka during World War II - was launched in August 2017.

In addition, the research will look into food choices, separate stretching and wellbeing zones and entertainment options during the flights.

Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO, said in the press release: "Ultra-long haul flying presents a lot of common sense questions about the comfort and wellbeing of passengers and crew".

Researchers from Sydney University's Charles Perkins Centre, Monash University and the Alertness Safety and Productivity Cooperative Research Centre - a scientific program backed by the Australian government - will examine the impact of the long flight on those on board.

Delivering the full-year results, Mr Joyce said higher crude oil prices had added $600million to the airline's fuel bill, as a weaker Australian dollar caused revenue to fall by $150million. And a final decision on whether the non-stop flights will happen is expected coming by the end of December 2019.

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