There is a palpable excitement in the air. The clock is ticking on, following the announcement that Qantas has put out on for testing an extremely long haul flight from the east coast of Australia (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) to London and New York.
Both Boeing and Airbus are working on providing an aircraft with ultra-long-range capabilities. The chosen plane needs to be capable of flying 10,573 miles nonstop, a journey which is pegged to take in the range of 21 hours in total.
Qantas will select the aircraft by end of this year. Till then the global attention is on the airline and speculation about its choice of aircraft is mounting.
‘Project Sunrise’ is Qantas’ goal to operate long haul research flights to gather data about both passenger and crew health on flying such a long journey. Three flights will be conducted in October, November and December and the data gathered will be used to track the health and well-being of passengers and crew members on board the approximately 19-hour long flight.
The Australian airline will carry 40 passengers and crew on two flights from New York to Sydney and another from London to Sydney.
The test passengers on the flights will mainly be Qantas employees, as well as scientists. Passengers and crew will be fitted with wearable technology devices to monitor sleep patterns and food and drink consumption, and to see how lighting, physical movement and in-flight entertainment impact their health.
For passengers the key will be in minimizing jet lag and creating an environment where they are looking forward to a restful, enjoyable flight.
For crew, it’s about using scientific research to determine the best opportunities to promote alertness when they are on duty and maximize rest during these flights.
Long-haul travel takes its toll on the body. Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), blood clots that can form particularly in the legs, is one peril. Nausea, Jet Lag and back pain from sitting for too long are another. Airlines like Qantas will have to consider allowing more space for passengers to move if it goes ahead with its ambitious plan of across the world non- stop flight..
If all goes well, Qantas aims to operate regular, non-stop flights to London and New York from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne as soon as 2022/23.
Frankly for business travellers this could be a time saver but I have my doubts whether any family with kids would be keen on taking this flight. It would be an absolute nightmare keeping the kids cooped up in such a long flight. The lack of space, boredom and sheer monotony of air travel would be such a bother even with business class seats –read flat beds.
What about you? Would you be sold to the idea of flying non- stop from Sydney to New York for 21 hours straight? Please share your views in the comments.
OS:SimpleFlying; AustralianAviation; Business Insider