Today is a pretty cool day for aviation, as a nonstop flight from New York to Sydney will be operated for the first time by a commercial airline. Now, don’t get too excited — this is a one-off, and the plane will only be very lightly loaded. But it’s pretty cool nonetheless.
Details Of Qantas’ New York To Sydney Flight
This evening Qantas flight 7879 (operated by a 787-9… get it?) will fly from New York to Sydney. The flight is expected to depart at 9PM and land at 7:10AM on Sunday morning (both times are local). The “block” time for this 9,950 mile flight is 19hr10min.
Logically if Qantas were to ever operate that flight commercially, I imagine that would be right around the schedule they’d have.
This plane has been positioned to New York from Seattle, as the plane has just been delivered to the airline by Boeing. Rather than flying the 787 directly from Seattle to Australia, they’re routing it the long way, via New York.
This is even a special 787-9 featuring their 100th anniversary livery.
Why Qantas Is Operating This Flight
Qantas hopes to eventually operate nonstop flights between the East Coast of Australia (Sydney and Melbourne) and both New York and London. The problem is that as of now no plane is capable of operating these flights nonstop.
It’s expected that within a few years there will be a plane up for the challenge, and Qantas hopes to have the title for operating the world’s longest flight.
So they say that today’s flight from New York to Sydney is a test flight. They’re able to operate it nonstop because it will have a total of just 50 passengers and crew on board, meaning the plane will have the range to fly nonstop.
Qantas claims the purpose of the record-breaking flight is to “conduct scientific research on passengers and crew on an ultra-long haul flight, with the aim of increasing health and wellness, minimizing jetlag and identifying optimum crew rest and work periods.”
In reality, I’d say the flight is more of a publicity stunt than anything else, though I doubt you’ll get Qantas to admit that. 😉
It’s cool to see a commercial airliner fly nonstop from New York to Sydney, though for now this will just be a test. The airline will be operating a total of three of these flights (from New York and London to Sydney), all part of new 787-9 deliveries.
Ultimately these flights don’t really have many implications, and are more of a publicity stunt than anything, but that doesn’t make them any less cool.
What will actually be most interesting is if/when Qantas can operate these flights in a commercially viable way. There are still a lot of things standing in the way of this happening, ranging from new contracts with their pilots and cabin crew, to having a plane capable of operating the flight.
I’ll certainly be tracking this flight tonight…