Qantas will equip itself with a new version of Airbus to offer non-stop flights. Image credit: Getty Images
Qantas is finalizing the final tests aimed at launching the first non-stop routes between Sydney and London. A technical achievement that the airline is preparing with the help of scientists and 40 volunteer employees to participate in this unprecedented experiment. This study, which is worthy of a space program, aims to measure the effects of this long, non-stop flight on sleep, circadian clock and passenger well-being.
Soon a world record!
Sydney-London flights in 19 hours and 20 minutes non-stop from 2025. That’s the promise of Australia’s Qantas with its new long-range Airbus A350-1000. The time saved is estimated to be at least 4 hours, not taking into account the often very long downtime.
12 aircraft have already been ordered from the European company as part of the Sunrise project. Other destinations like Sydney and New York can see the light of day, too.
The A350-1000 is equipped with an additional 20,000-liter body tank, which increases its range to 18,000 kilometers. It should consume 25% less fuel than previous generations. With this extraordinary machine, Qantas hopes to break the record for the longest commercial flight held since May 15, 2020 by … the French bee company for a non-stop flight Papeete-Paris, i.e. 16,129 kilometers traveled in 16 hours and 45 minutes with the Airbus A350- 900.
238 passengers and no other passenger
These futuristic long-haul flights will make it possible to tour half the world in less than one day. It will be able to accommodate up to 238 passengers. Six passengers in First Class will get a bed, reclining chair and a wardrobe. 52 Business Class seats will be available in addition to 40 Premium Class and 140 Economy Class seats. For the latter, the seats will be separated by 84 cm as against normally 79 cm. Large relaxation areas have also been developed. The head of the Australian company stresses that everything will be done to avoid “economy class syndrome”.
The issue of the health of passengers and staff on board is a concern for the Qantas management team. Test flights connecting Perth and London regularly (14,498 km in 17 hours) are underway. The Australian and International Pilots Association is asking the company to conduct a long-term scientific study to ensure that pilots get adequate rest time. The latter should be equipped for test flights using an EEG recorder to analyze the rhythms of brain waves.
Another test is underway on the crew of the B787-9 without a passenger. The latter joins Australia, New York or London. Test duration? 3 months. Once again, each passenger is equipped with medical devices and participates in science experiments at different times during the 19-hour flight. The results are analyzed by medical experts at the Charles Perkins Center for sleep, diet, physical movement, and the effects of lighting and entertainment on their health. Monash University researchers will focus on what happens after the flight, including travelers’ melanin levels.
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