Washington - A Qantas airplane took off from New York on Friday night and didn't stop until it reached Sydney just over 19 hours later, setting a record for the world's longest nonstop commercial passenger flight.
Months of planning went into the Boeing 787-9′s 16 199km journey. Tests assessed the health and well-being of the 49 passengers and crew members aboard the flight, which was conducted for research purposes as the largest airline in Australia explores offering the "ultra long" flights.
"This is a really significant first for aviation," Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said in a news release. "Hopefully, it's a preview of a regular service that will speed up how people travel from one side of the globe to the other."
The company is seeking to launch nonstop flights between Australia's east coast and New York and London, saving passengers up to four hours in travel time. Its Project Sunrise plans to test the London-to-Sydney route in November and decide by the end of this year whether to offer the new routes.