Qantas non-stop flights from New York to Sydney: Final Project Sunrise test flight touches down

The last of Qantas' ultra-long haul Project Sunrise flights has touched down in Sydney, after an epic non-stop journey from New York.

Project Sunrise is Qantas' plan to have the airline flying non-stop from Australia's eastern capitals to London and New York by 2022. It became the first airline to launch non-stop flights to Britain when its Perth-London route took off in March 2018.

At 19 hours, 31 minutes, flight QF7879 was the longest of the three test flights - 17 minutes longer than the previous New York flight and 12 minutes longer than the test flight from London to Sydney.

Prior to taking off from New York, Qantas unveiled the name of the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner performing the test flight - Gangurru, an indigenous word from north Queensland for kangaroo.

During the previous two Project Sunrise flights, the small number of passengers on board were asked to modify their sleep and behaviour patterns with exercise, food and light exposure.

Researchers from Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre then monitored passengers to track sleep patterns and eating habits.

This final test flight did not feature the same changes in routine, with passengers experiencing a standard Qantas service experience on board. This provided "control" data for researchers to measure against the previous two flights.

While Qantas used new Dreamliners to carry out the test flights, the plane will  not be capable of flying the distances involved when fully laden with passengers and cargo.


Qantas invited the world's two major aircraft manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus, to come up with a plane capable of achieving the goal of commercial flights non-stop from Australia's east coast to New York and London.

Last week the airline announced it had chosen the Airbus A350-1000 as the plane it would use on the routes - if they go ahead. Qantas has delayed its final decision on the future of the routes until next year.

Singapore Airlines currently operates the world's longest commercial flight, from Singapore to New York non-stop, using an Airbus A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Haul). The A350-1000 is slightly larger, but current models do not offer the range of the Singapore Airlines' plane.

Despite the long flight time, the last Project Sunrise test flight falls well short of the world record for the longest flight by a commercial airliner.

That title belongs to Pakistan International Airline, which flew a Boeing 777-200LR test flight from Hong Kong to London eastward, taking a whopping 22 hours, 22 minutes to complete the 21,600 kilometre journey.

See also: Hour by hour: My epic non-stop Qantas flight from London

See also: Qantas chooses its plane for non-stop flights to London, New York