Qantas’s long road towards a decision on whether to launch ultra long-haul flights from 2023 has taken another step forward, when the first of three research flights took off from New York’s John F Kennedy Airport on Friday the 20th of October 2019. The 787-9 VH-ZNI Kookaburra operating QF7879 carried some of Qantas’s very frequent flyers, airline staff including chief executive Alan Joyce, researchers and invited media.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and Qantas Captain Lisa Norman will be on the first Project Sunrise research flight from New York to Sydney. (Seth Jaworski)

During this trip, the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre conducted passenger research with the aim of reducing jetlag using a wearable device to track movement and light exposure. Passengers were also to be assessed during the flight with a test performed on a tablet, among other activities. Meanwhile, the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity considered the impact of these ultra long-haul flights on pilots and cabin crew.

To find out more about what aircrafts will be used if Project Sunrise goes ahead in 2023 visit:

Qantas takes Project Sunrise evaluation to 40,000ft

Although this article was written before the first research flight took place it stipulates interesting statements from Airbus head of A350 marketing Marisa Lucas-Ugena regarding the airplane most suited to future Project Sunrise flights.