Having launched regular passenger services from London to Perth last year, the airline now has its sights on ultra-long-haul flights to its Sydney hub.
The airline re-purposed the delivery flight of a new B787 Dreamliner in order to carry 50 passengers and crew on the trial flight which took 19 hours and 19 minutes.
Passengers included researchers from the University of Sydney and the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity.
Qantas has already operated a non-stop research flight from New York to Sydney – also using the delivery of a new aircraft to do so – and will repeat the test next month as the third and final part of Project Sunrise.
Findings from all three flights will be used to inform future service and product design in order to enhance wellbeing and comfort during ultra-long-haul flights, potentially including scheduled flights on the two test routes.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says: “We know that travellers want room to move on these direct services, and the exercises we encouraged on the first research flight seemed to work really well.
“So, we’re definitely looking to incorporate on-board stretching zones and even some simple modifications like overhead handles to encourage low impact exercises.”
He adds: “Our Perth to London flight was a huge leap forward and it’s been incredibly popular.
“The final frontier is New York and London to the east coast of Australia non-stop and we are hopeful of conquering that by 2023 if we can make all elements of the business case stack up.”
The London to Sydney Project Sunrise research flight operated almost 100 years to the day that the first ever flight from the UK to Australia took off from Hounslow Heath (near today’s Heathrow Airport) on 12 November 1919. It landed in Darwin 28 days later on 10 December 1919.