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Qantas test flight from London to Sydney nonstop takes off

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  • 2 of 3 Project Sunrise research flights to reduce jetlag and design optimum crew rest and work pattern
  • Builds on learnings from New York-Sydney service last month
  • ‘Supper at breakfast time’ among changes to on-board service to help passengers adjust to new timezone
  • Almost 100 years to the day that the first London to Australia flight operated

Australia’s national carrier is preparing for its second ultra-long haul research flight, as part of scientific studies into minimising jetlag for passengers and improving crew wellbeing.

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The first research flight operated between New York and Sydney non-stop four weeks ago with 49 passengers and crew. It cut around three hours off the typical gate-to-gate travel time of current one-stop flights.

The airline has re-purposed the delivery flights of three brand new 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which would otherwise ferry empty from Seattle to Australia. A third research flight, repeating the New York-Sydney route, will take place in December.

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Tomorrow’s flight marks only the second time in history that a commercial airline has flown direct from London to Sydney. The first was 30 years ago in 1989, when Qantas operated a 747-400 ferry flight between the two cities. The aircraft that performed that flight (VH-OJA) is now on public display at an aviation museum, south of Sydney.

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Researchers from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre as well as the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity (Alertness CRC) will again travel on the non-stop Dreamliner flight to collect passenger and crew data.

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The findings from all three research flights will be used to inform future service and product design, aimed at increasing wellbeing and comfort during travel on long-haul flights – in particular the direct flights Qantas hopes to operate on a commercial basis between the east coast of Australia and London and New York.

Project Sunrise Research Flight #2 – London to Sydney 

The research flight will carry around 50 passengers and crew in order to give the 787-9 the range required for the 17,800 km flight, expected to take around 19 and a half hours.

While the flight is over 1,500 kilometers further than New York to Sydney, the duration is expected to be similar due to prevailing tail winds between London and Sydney.

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All carbon emissions from the research flights will be offset. Qantas recently announced an acceleration of its efforts to reduce its broader carbon footprint, including effectively doubling current levels of flight offsetting, capping carbon emissions from 2020 onwards and totally eliminate net emissions by the year 2050. (link to environment press release)

Flight fast facts

  • QF 7879 flight from London to Sydney will take around 19-and-a-half hours subject to wind and weather conditions on the day. Distance between London and Sydney is 17,800 kilometres (11,000 miles). This compares to a travel time of 22 hours and 35 minutes on the current London to Sydney via Singapore flight.
  • The flight will be operated by a brand-new Boeing 787-9 with a special Qantas Centenary livery, registration VH ZNJ, named “Longreach”.
  • Four pilots will be on rotation throughout the flight. Two additional pilots will be in the cabin, having flown the aircraft to London.
  • The route will depart London and overfly 11 countries including England, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Philippines and Indonesia before crossing the Australian coast near Darwin, tracking across the country before descending into Sydney.
  • The aircraft will operate with a maximum fuel load of approx. 126,000 litres. Projected fuel remaining upon landing is approximately 7,500 litres which translates to about 100 minutes of flight time.
  • Maximum take-off weight for a 787-9 is 254,000kg. QF 7879 LHR to SYD will depart at 233,000kg take-off weight with the same amount of fuel that Qantas departs Perth to London flights with.
  • Flight will travel at 85% the speed of sound which is around 930 kilometres an hour. Cruising altitude will start at 35,000 feet and then as the aircraft weight reduces with fuel burn, the cruising altitude will increase to 40,000 feet.

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Aviation

Sneak Peek Inside the Qatar Airways’ Qsuite Next Gen at Farnborough Airshow

Sneak Peek Inside the Qatar Airways' Qsuite Next Gen at Farnborough Airshow

As the Farnborough International Airshow 2024 unfolds, one of the most anticipated highlights has arrived: Qatar Airways’ unveiling of its Innovative Qsuite Next Gen.

This preview offers a tantalizing glimpse into the future of luxury travel, showcasing the next evolution of Qatar Airways’ renowned Qsuite. Known for setting the standard in premium cabin experiences, the new Qsuite promises to redefine business class comfort with cutting-edge design and technology.

Building on the success of its pioneering Qsuite, which redefined business class with its door-equipped suites, Qatar Airways’ new generation of Qsuite is poised to elevate the standard even further.

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The original Qsuite revolutionized long-haul travel by introducing a business class seat with a door, making privacy and comfort a new standard in the industry. Now, with the Qsuite Next Gen,

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A standout feature of the Qsuite Next Gen is its redesigned Quad Suite, which is equipped with movable 4K OLED Panasonic Astrova IFE screens—a world-first for any airline. These state-of-the-art screens can be repositioned to the side, creating the largest social and productivity space in the sky.

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This setup allows for up to four passengers to enjoy a spacious and flexible environment in the Quad Suite, while the Companion Suite accommodates up to two passengers.

The Qsuite Next Gen will be introduced on Qatar Airways’ Boeing B777-9 aircraft starting in 2025. This new suite configuration not only includes innovative window dual suites but also features a unique combination of quad, duo, and companion suites, each designed with the latest technologies for increased passenger convenience and connectivity.

Customization options are abundant, with enhanced ambient lighting, privacy controls, and upgraded touchscreen Passenger Control Units that offer a more personalized experience.

One notable change in the Qsuite Next Gen is the integration of the TV screens into the suite’s barrier system. Instead of traditional dividers that need to be lowered, these screens serve as part of the barrier and can be folded away when not in use.

However, Qatar Airways has confirmed that these advanced seats will not be retrofitted onto older aircraft. As Qatar Airways continues to evolve its fleet, the airline is focusing on reducing the number of non-Qatar-branded leased aircraft and phasing out the oldest models.

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With the Airbus A350 back in service and a commitment to modernizing its fleet, Qatar Airways is well-positioned to enhance its business class offering and deliver an unparalleled travel experience.

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