SYDNEY, 18 November 2019: Qantas has kicked off year-long celebrations leading up to its centenary in 2020 with a nonstop London to Sydney flight.
Flown by a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner the flight landed in Sydney at the weekend after completing a flight of 19 hours and 19 minutes after from Heathrow in London.
It follows the nonstop New York to Sydney flight last month as the second of three research flights aim at improving crew and passenger wellbeing on ultra long haul services under consideration.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “Air travel had evolved over the years and innovation was key, which involved looking at options to redesign aircraft cabins to include “move and stretch” zones and other social spaces.
“We know that travellers want more room to move on these direct services, and the exercises we encouraged on the first research flight seemed to work really well. So, we’re definitely looking to incorporate on-board stretching zones, and even some simple modifications like overhead handles to encourage low impact exercises.”
In-flight meals included high GI supper options such as chicken broth with macaroni or a steak sandwich, along with a glass of wine and a milk-based pana cotta dessert. Cabin lighting and temperature, stretching, and meditation will also play key roles in the research.
This marks only the second time in history that a commercial airline has flown directly from London to Sydney.
The first was 30 years ago in 1989 when Qantas operated a 747-400 ferry flight between the two cities. The aircraft that performed that flight (VH-OJA) is now on public display at an aviation museum, south of Sydney.
The direct flight reduced total travel time by around three hours compared with current one-stop services from the east coast of Australia. It is only the second time any commercial airline has flown this route nonstop after Qantas flew a near-empty 747-400 in 1989.
The new Dreamliner was met by more than 1,000 Qantas employees to mark the flying kangaroo’s 99th birthday and kick off 12 months of celebrations as it heads towards its centenary.
Commenting on the milestone, Joyce said: “Almost a century after our first flight, Qantas and Jetstar carry more than 50 million people around this country and the globe each year. I’m sure that would amaze our three founders, who held the early board meetings of this company at the local tailor’s shop because it was the longest table they could find.”
Qantas officially turned 99 years old, and begin its 100th year on, Saturday 16 November 2019.