Qantas has completed a non-stop flight from London Heathrow to Sydney Kingsford Smith airport.
A Qantas Boeing 787-9 aircraft departed London Heathrow at 06:09 GMT / 17:09 AEDT on Thursday 14 November 2019 and arrived in Sydney at 01:28 GMT / 12:28 AEDT on Friday 15 November 2019. The total flight time was 19 hours and 19 minutes. This compares to around 22 hours and 35 minutes for Qantas’ one-stop service from London Heathrow via Singapore.
The Boeing 787, registration VH-ZNJ, named Longreach – a town in Queensland where Qantas traces its origins – bears a special livery to mark the forthcoming Qantas Centenary.
This flight departed with 52 passengers and crew including four operating pilots and six operating cabin crew.
This flight is the second of three test flights Qantas is conducting as part of its research into “Ultra Long Range” flights to Australia.
Qantas has used these test flights, operated by factory fresh Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, to trial service routines and test the impact of ultra long-range flights on passengers and crew. On this particular flight, passengers ate supper shortly after departure from London.
This is not the first time a Qantas aircraft has flown non-stop from London to Sydney. On 16 August 1989, under flight number QF7441, Qantas’ first Boeing 747-400 aircraft (VH-OJA City Of Canberra) flew non-stop from London to Sydney.
For this flight, only 23 people were on board the aircraft. Two tonnes of equipment, including galley equipment, were removed to save weight. Passengers’ bags also travelled separately. The flight took a slightly longer path than this week’s Qantas flight due to the inability to fly over former USSR and Chinese airspace at the time.
Qantas has received tenders from Airbus and Boeing to provide A350 and 777X aircraft capable of flying non-stop scheduled passenger services from London to the East Coast of Australia. Qantas has advised that a final decision, which is also subject to regulatory approval and trade union negotiations, should be made by the end of this year.
Should Qantas go ahead with the order, it has the slots at Heathrow to operate up to four daily non-stop services to Australia.