'Are we there yet?': Qantas completes 20-hour flight from New York to Sydney

The Boeing 787-9 test flight left the US on Friday, but arrived in Australia on Sunday

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The long flight of all long flights has completed its journey.

Qantas's 20-hour epic from New York to Sydney took off from JFK airport at 9.27pm local time on Friday – nearly half an hour later than scheduled – and landed in Australia at 7.42am on Sunday.

It is one of three ultra-long-haul flight tests being carried out by the Australian airline to "conduct scientific research on passengers and crew with the aim of increasing health and wellness, minimising jetlag and identifying optimum crew rest and work periods", according to a statement by Qantas.

Flight 7879 had 50 passengers and crew onboard, and is part of the airline's quest to launch commercial flights between the east coast of Australia - Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane - and New York and London.

The direct flights would save passengers up to four hours in total travel time.

Nearly seven hours into the 16,200-kilometre flight, airline tracking services showed the plane had passed over mainland US and was heading on the flight path towards Hawaii over the Pacific Ocean.

Its route took it over Columbus, Indianapolis and Kansas City before leaving the coastline slightly north of Santa Barbara.

It later flew 640km north of Fiji and over the islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia before touching down in Sydney.

The Boeing 787-9 being used for the flight took off with maximum fuel and restricted baggage load. However, other aircraft – the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777X – have been pitched should the route enter commercial service.

Qantas said a final decision on Project Sunrise is expected by the end of this year and, if approved, flights would start in 2022/23.

World's longest flights


New York to Sydney flight facts

- You can watch all eight Harry Potter films during the flight, as they last 19 hours and 39 minutes

- Four pilots are on rotation throughout the flight. Two additional pilots are in the cabin, having flown the aircraft to New York

- Projected fuel remaining upon landing is approximately 6,000 kilograms, which translates to about 90 minutes of flight-time

- Nearly half of the aircraft weight on take-off is fuel

- Cruising altitude starts at 36,000 feet for the first few hours and then, as the aircraft weight reduces with fuel burn, the cruising altitude increases to 40,000 feet


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