Today is a massive day for aviation but more so Qantas who has today completed their first test flight non-stop from New York to Sydney. The airline will be running these flights to help better understand the needs of passengers on these ultra-long-haul services.
QF7879 departed New York’s JFK airport at 9:27 pm local time and arrived into Sydney 19 hours and 16 minutes later. The airline used their newest aircraft; VH-ZNI which was fresh out of the Boeing factory a few days beforehand.
All up, there were a total of 40 passengers on-board, they consisted of high-level frequent flyers, media, scientists and staff.
Per Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce:
“Night flights usually start with dinner and then lights off. For this flight, we started with lunch and kept the lights on for the first six hours, to match the time of day at our destination. It means you start reducing the jetlag straight away.
“What’s already clear is how much time you can save. Our regular, one-stop New York to Sydney service (QF12) took off three hours before our direct flight but we arrived a few minutes ahead of it, meaning we saved a significant amount of total travel time by not having to stop.”
This flight was the 1st departing New York, and the airline expects to run their next test flight from London next month. The 2nd New York test flight is set to take place in December.
For those wanting to know the exact numbers behind the flight, this flight covered a total of 9530 miles which is 407 more miles than the current EWR-SIN route operated by Singapore Airlines.
What aircraft will eventually operate this service?
Qantas not only hopes to be the first airline covering these types of services but also want it to be done by 2023, and that means selecting a new aircraft.
In the current configurations, none of the carrier’s aircraft could operate a service full of passengers, hence why there were only 40 people on-board.
Qantas has options from both Boeing and Airbus, but from what is being reported, Airbus is very confident that they will be able to make these flights possible. The French-based aircraft manufacturer has recommended its A350-1000 as it would best suit the airlines’ requirements.
The A350-1000 is a stunning looking aircraft, and it seems to be a common choice with airlines due it’s low emissions, running costs and passenger aspects. The A350-1000 has also been flying for a couple of years, so the technology and information is all physically there. The Boeing 777X hasn’t even yet been delivered to an airline let alone operate a passenger service.
The airline has stated that they will make their final decision as to which aircraft they’ll use later this year.
Congratulations to Qantas who have made history today – that is a damn long journey. I also think people need to talk more about the people actually making these flights operate – the crew onboard. Not only do they have to endure the long journey, but they’re also on their feet for most of the flight making sure passengers needs are catered to. My hat goes off to all of the cabin and tech crew operating these flights.
It’s an extremely exciting time for both Aviation and Qantas, and it’ll be interesting to see what they decided upon at the end of the year.
Would you take the 19-hour journey or do you prefer to have a stop?