Qantas Airlines is currently making the second of three Project Sunrise flights. This time around, the airline is flying non-stop between London Heathrow and Sydney. The journey is scheduled to take 19hours 18Minutes. The 787 departed from Heathrow at around 06:00am on 14th November. It it due to arrive into Sydney at 11:45 on 15th November.
The flight can be tracked on FlightRadar24.com
Previously, the airline undertook a non-stop flight between New York and Sydney in October 2019.
These test flights aren’t available to the general public however. They are being used to test the feasibility of ultra long haul flights from Sydney. Onboard, there will be 40 Qantas employees, including the crew members operating the flight.
The Project Sunrise flights are operated by Boeing 787 aircraft. If/when Qantas launches commercial flights on the route, they have stated that they will utilise either Airbus A350ULR or the yet to be flown Boeing 777X aircraft. The final decision on which aircraft Qantas will use to operate these ultra long haul routes will be decided in December 2019.
Rather than take a Boeing 787 out of commercial service to operate these test flights, Qantas have re-routed new aircraft on delivery to the airline. In the case of the London flight, it was operated by the 787 wearing a special livery to commemorate the airlines 100th anniversary.
The aircraft positioned from the Boeing production site in Everett to Los Angeles on 7th November before heading on to London late in the evening of 12th November.
Whilst the New York – Sydney flights haven’t been made before, the London – Sydney flight isn’t new. All the way back in 1989, the airline flew their first Boeing 747-400 between the two cities. As that type didn’t quite have the range, it flew with just 23 people on board.
Qantas made history in March 2018 when it became the first airline to launch commercial services between the UK and Australia. Again, using the Boeing 787, Qantas links London and Perth in a scheduled 17hours 20Minutes.
This isn’t the worlds longest flight though. That crown goes to Singapore Airlines flight between Singapore – New York. The Qantas flight is also beaten on mileage by Qatar Airways route between Doha – Sydney.
Qantas first flew between London and Sydney all the way back in 1947. Back then, the trip was located by the Lockheed Constellation and made 6 stops en-route. The total journey time back then was 55 hours spread over 5 days.
Header credit: @Qantas