Qantas Completes Extraordinary Research Trip

New fleet member flies non-stop from London to Sydney to kick off centennial celebration.

Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
"Longreach," Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, has a centennial livery to celebrate the company’s 100th year in operation.Qantas

The Australian airline Qantas is celebrating its 100th year in business throughout 2020, and the company started out the festivities this month with an impressive flight. The airline’s brand-new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner took a mega flight from London, England, to Sydney, Australia, flying over 11 countries. The Dreamliner, the tenth in Qantas’ fleet, was painted with a special centennial livery and named Longreach “after the Queensland town integral to our beginnings and its role in conquering the tyranny of distance,” Qantas said. The name was previously used for the company’s retiring 747-400 series of jets.

The name is not the only link between the company’s 787s and 747s: Qantas completed the same journey from London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) in 1989, flying the company’s first Boeing 747-400. That flight carried 23 passengers and took 20 hours and nine minutes to complete.

According to a report on CNN, Captain Helen Trennery headed up the Dreamliner flight, which carried 52 passengers (including press and Qantas employees, including the company’s CEO Alan Joyce) for 19 hours and 19 minutes. The airplane had one hour and 45 minutes’ worth of fuel when it landed in Sydney.

This was the second of three ultra-long-haul research flights aimed to improve wellness for the crews on such lengthy assignments. All flights are repurposed delivery flights, and Qantas says it is offsetting their carbon emissions. The project has been named Project Sunrise and, in addition to the crew research, the routes flown are under consideration for future availability. The first Project Sunrise flight took place in October and flew from New York to Sydney. It was the first time a commercial airline had completed that route, according to Qantas. The final research flight, planned in December, will repeat the New York to Sydney leg.

Qantas officially began its 100th year on November 16. Along with special celebrations, Qantas is offering special pricing for flight all over the world. For example, flights from Los Angeles to Sydney are available for as little as $100 per leg.