Quantas will test run direct flights from London to Sydney and NY to Sydney later this year to see how the lengthy journeys will affect crew and passengers.
The airline wants to operate non-stop services from Sydney to London and NY by as soon as 2022. But the latter comes with a special menu to aid hydration and a yoga studio in Perth to unwind, per the Wall Street Journal. As a result, the planned delivery flights from Seattle to Australia will be re-routed, and the research flights will be operated with the new aircraft.
Qantas Airways wants to fly passengers from Sydney to NY and London without stopping.
A Qantas spokesman said the airline had chose to hire long-haul cabin crew because of a sustained improvement in the global business in recent months.
The flights form part of planning for Project Sunrise - Qantas' goal to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from Australia to London and NY. Each flight will take about 19 hours. Qantas still hasn't decided on a Boeing or Airbus SE plane that can fly the route fully laden and without a break. The test runs are scheduled for October, November and December.
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Scientists and medical experts will monitor sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption, lighting, physical movement and inflight entertainment to assess the impact on health, wellbeing, and body clock. They will be provided with wearable technology devices and take part in specific experiences at varying stages of the circa-19 hour flights.
As part of the experiment, dubbed Project Sunrise, the pilots will also wear an electroencephalogram that tracks brain activity and alertness. They will be looking at how to minimize jet lag and how to create a comfortable long-haul atmosphere. "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 their down time on these flights", Joyce continued.
If the flight comes to be, it's unlikely to significantly change the aviation industry, he says, pointing to the existing 17-hour flights between Singapore to NY operated by Singapore Airlines.
Project Sunrise is an initiative to begin regular nonstop commercial flights to NY and London from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
"We'll also be looking at how we can use it to improve our existing long-haul flights", he added. If everything goes right, he said, the airline could place an order this year and launch the routes by 2023.