Non-Stop Heathrow-Sydney Test Flight to See if Passengers/Crew Go Mad

By Gary Cutlack on at

Aussie airline Qantas is running a direct flight from Heathrow to Sydney tomorrow, carrying an invited passenger list of just 50 people on the 18.5-hour direct flight around the world. It's being described as a "research flight" to see how passengers and crew take to the idea of being in the air for such a long time.

This is the second flight Qantas is running as part of its Project Sunrise scheme, to test appetite for and organise the onboard staff scheduling of non-stop flights of such extreme duration. The first Sunrise test flew from New York to Sydney earlier this year, and tomorrow's UK-Australia ultra-haul is carrying out another piece of key airline business on the side too – it's the delivery flight of a brand new 787 Dreamliner, which would've crossed the world empty otherwise.

Qantas says the last time a commercial flight did UK-Sydney direct was in 1989, such a long time ago that everyone's forgotten how tortuous it was and is ready to try again. [Qantas]