The first commercial flight for Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft December 15, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.
James D. Morgan | Getty Images
Qantas Airways completed a 19-hour 19-minute test flight from London to Sydney on Friday as it nears a decision to book flights for what would be the world's longest commercial route ever.
We saw a double sunrise, "said Qantas chief Alan Joyce after leaving the plane, which followed a similar one from New York to Sydney last month.
The event included speeches by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Qantas chairman Richard Goyder.
Qantas has named Project "Project Sunrise" after the airline's dual endurance flights during World War II, which remained airborne enough to see two sunrises.
The aircraft on the London-Sydney research aircraft, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, carried 50 passengers and had fuel left for about an hour and 45 minutes when it landed.
The airline must get pilots to agree on contract terms and a cancellation by Australasia's aviation regulator to start the aircraft by 2023.
Qantas has considered a booking on either an ultra-long range of Airbus SE's A350-1
Captain Helen Trenerry, who led the test aircraft, said before take-off Wednesday that research data including activity monitoring, sleep diaries, cognitive testing and monitoring of melatonin levels would help determine whether the crew mix of a captain, a first commissioner and two other officers was appropriate or whether more people were needed.
She said she would be happy to fly Sydney-London or Sydney-New York, but prefers regulations that limited the trips to around a month for pilots because "they will be very, very long flights and exhausting in the long run. "
Mark Sedgwick, President of the Australian and International Pilot Ots Association representing Qantas pilots, said on Friday that the research flights were "a step in the right direction", but the dataset was probably too limited to inform wider fatigue management plans.
Citi analysts consider the ultra-long range flights to be a game-changing opportunity for the airline as it appears to fetch a premium from travelers in return to cut a stop-over.
In a note to customers published in July, they predicted direct flights from Sydney to London and New York could add $ 180 million annually to the carrier's pre-tax profit, which was A $ 3.3 billion in the fiscal year ended 30. June.
Qantas will hold an investor survey on Tuesday where it could provide guidance on future capital expenditure plans.
The flight between London and Sydney came when the airline started the celebrations for the 100th year in service next year.
787-9 with a limited number of passengers used on the research flight had a liar celebrate Qantas centenary.