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Qantas completes "double sunrise" test flight from London to Sydney



The first commercial flight of a Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner on December 15, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.

James D. Morgan | Getty Images

Qantas Airways completed a 19-hour, 19-minute continuous test flight from London to Sydney on Friday as it decides whether to order planes for what will be the world's longest-running commercial route.

"We saw a double sunrise," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said after departing a flight that 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 Goider to see two sunrises.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in the London-Sydney research flight carries 50 passengers and has fuel for approximately another 1

hour 45 minutes of flight time when it lands.

The airline must receive pilots to agree on the terms of the contract and to cancel Australia's aviation regulator ia launches flights by 2023.

Qantas is considering a contract or an ultra-long version of the Airbus SE A350-1000 , or for the Boeing Co 777-8, although the launch of the last aircraft was delayed and therefore Boeing made an alternative proposal to deal with it.

Captain Helen Trainers, who supervised the test flight, said before takeoff on Wednesday that research data, including activity monitoring, sleep logs, cognitive testing and monitoring of melatonin levels, would help determine if crew crews one captain, one first officer and two second officers are appropriate or if more people are needed.

She said she would love to fly Sydney-London or Sydney-New York, but would prefer regulations that limit trips to about one month for pilots because "they will be very, very long flights and long-term fatigue ".

Mark Sedgwick, president of the Australian and International Pil ots Association, representing Qantas pilots, said on Friday that research flights are "a step in the right direction" but that the data set is probably too limited to inform more extensive fatigue management plans.

Citi analysts believe that long-haul flights are an opportunity to change the game for the airline, as it wants to win a premium from passengers in exchange for a suspension break.

In a note to customers published in July, they forecast nonstop flights from Sydney to London and New York could add $ 180 million a year to pre-tax carrier profits, which was $ A1.3 billion in the financial year, ended on June 30.

Qantas is due to hold an investor briefing on Tuesday, where it can provide guidance on future capital spending plans.

The London-Sydney flight came after the airline on Friday launched celebrations for its 100th year of service next year.

The 787-9 with a limited number of passengers used in the research flight had a live celebration of the centenary of Qantas.


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