Tomorrow, Qantas is finally launching tests for its “Project Sunrise” initiative — nonstop commercial flights from the east coast of Australia (Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne) to both London and New York.
The flight tomorrow will be going nonstop from New York to Sydney and operated by a Boeing 787-9. No commercial airline has flown from New York to Australia before.
However, Qantas isn’t selling tickets on this momentous flight. In fact, there will be a minimum of luggage and catering (and passengers) to extend the range of the 787-9. This will be solely a research flight to gather data about inflight passenger and crew health on ultra-long-haul journeys.
Most of the 40-or-so passengers and crew will be Qantas employees, and will be plugged into a plethora of health tracking equipment.
Yes, this test flight is definitely a marketing play by Qantas, but it’s still very cool to see one of the last frontiers in ultra long haul flying in action.
This December, Qantas will decide on which aircraft manufacturer — Boeing or Airbus — that will get the bid for flying these routes. In recent days, Airbus seems to have taken the lead in attracting Qantas’s business.
Qantas’s options are the Airbus A350-1000 and the soon-to-be-unveiled Boeing 777-8. The Boeing aircraft has been plagued with delays, though.
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