QANTAS CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS TAKE OFF AS DIRECT LONDON-SYDNEY RESEARCH FLIGHT LANDS
Project Sunrise research flight direct from London to Sydney lands after 19 hours and 19 minutes2nd of 3 Project Sunrise research flights to reduce jetlag and design optimum crew rest and work patternBuilds on learnings from New York-Sydney service last month 'Supper at breakfast time' among changes to on-board service to help passengers adjust to new timezoneAlmost 100 years to the day that the first London to Australia flight operatedQantas announces Centenary program to celebrate 100 years of the flying kangarooQantas exhibition to visit a number of cities across Australia Qantas has kicked off 12 months of centenary celebrations as it marks a fresh milestone in aviation with a non-stop London to Sydney flight.
Flown by the latest addition to the national carrier's fleet, a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner landed in Sydney at 12:28pm, 19 hours and 19 minutes after leaving Heathrow. It follows the non-stop New York to Sydney flight last month as the second of three research flights aim at improving crew and passenger wellbeing on ultra long haul services under consideration.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: "Air travel had evolved over the years and innovation was key, which involved looking at options to redesign aircraft cabins to include "move and stretch" zones and other social spaces.
"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."
Passengers boarded at 6am London time. After take-off they were offered a range of high GI supper options such as chicken broth with macaroni or a steak sandwich, along with a glass of wine and a milk based pana cotta dessert. Cabin lighting and temperature, stretching and meditation will also play key roles in the research.
This marks only the second time in history that a commercial airline has flown direct from London to Sydney. The first was 30 years ago in 1989, when Qantas operated a 747-400 ferry flight between the two cities. The aircraft that performed that flight (VH-OJA) is now on public display at an aviation museum, south of Sydney.
The direct flight reduced total travel time by around three hours compared with current one-stop services from the east coast of Australia. It is only the second time any commercial airline has flown this route non-stop, after Qantas flew a near-empty 747-400 in 1989.
The new Dreamliner was met by more than 1,000 Qantas employees to mark the flying kangaroo's 99th birthday and kick off 12 months of celebrations as it heads towards its centenary.
Three components of those celebrations were revealed today – special livery on a new Dreamliner that will be seen at airports around the world, featuring every Qantas logo since 1920; a $1 coin to mark the 100th that will enter circulation next year; and a touring exhibition that will visit a number of cities around Australia.
Qantas Chairman Richard Goyder said: "Qantas is a national icon because it's been such a big part of Australian life for so long. We started in outback Queensland carrying mail and a few passengers in the 1920s. We grew as Australia grew, and we've had important support roles during wars, national disasters and celebrations. Our founders talked about overcoming the tyranny of distance and through the years we've moved from bi-planes, to single wing, to jets to help bring things closer.
Mr Joyce said: "Almost a century after our first flight, Qantas and Jetstar carry more than 50 million people around this country and the globe each year. I'm sure that would amaze our three founders, who held the early board meetings of this company at the local tailor's shop because it was the longest table they could find."
"There are so many amazing Qantas stories that also tell the story of modern Australia. We want our centenary to be a celebration of those stories as well as how we'll be part of taking the spirit of Australia further in the years ahead," added Mr Joyce.
Qantas will officially turn 99 years old, and begin its 100th year, tomorrow, Saturday 16 November 2019.
The new 787 Centenary livery aircraft will fly across key Qantas international destinations, including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and London. Named Longreach after the Queensland town that was key to the airline's origins, it joins nine other Qantas 787s that are all named after things that are iconically Australian, including Skippy, Great Southern Land, Waltzing Matilda and Jillaroo.
QF 7879 flight London to Sydney flight time was 19 hours and xx minutes. Touch down at Sydney International airport was 12:28pmThe flight was operated by a brand-new Boeing 787-9 registration VH ZNJ, named Longreach.The service was a re-purposed delivery flight. Rather than flying from Boeing's factory in Seattle back to Australia empty, the aircraft was positioned in London to simulate one of the Project Sunrise routes under consideration by Qantas. All carbon emissions were offset.The flight departed London's Heathrow Airport and flew across 11 countries including England, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Philippines and Indonesia before crossing the Australian coast near Darwin, tracking south east across Australia towards Sydney.Remaining fuel upon landing was approximately 6300kg which translates to about 1 hour 45 minutes of flight time.