Australia's national carrier Qantas is stepping up in its goal to launch the first direct flights between Sydney and New York by announcing a test flight for the epic, 19-hour route.
Qantas will run test services of its planned 19-hour flights to determine whether passengers and crew can withstand the marathon journeys. The airline wants to operate non-stop services from Sydney to London and New York by as soon as 2022. If launched, the services would be the world's longest direct flights.
The trial flights will begin later this year, each carrying up to 40 passengers who will have their health monitored on the journey.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said direct flights from the east coast of Australia to London and New York represented the "final frontier in aviation".
The airline said non-stop flights from New York and London to Sydney would take about 19 hours each, subject to wind and weather conditions.
It will conduct three test flights and participants - made up of crew and Qantas employees - will be fitted with wearable technology devices. Sleep patterns, along with food and beverage consumption, will be tracked to determine the impact on health and the body clock.
The flights will run on Boeing 787-9s. The airline said it would make a decision on whether to start the flights by the end of the year.
World's longest flights
1. Newark to Singapore, Singapore Airlines: 15,344km, up to 18 hours 45 mins
2. Auckland to Doha, Qatar Airways: 14,535km, up to 18 hours 20 mins
3. Perth to London, Qantas: 14,499km, 17 hours 20 mins
4. Auckland to Dubai, Emirates: 14,200km, up to 17 hours 15 mins
5. Los Angeles to Singapore, Singapore Airlines: 14,113km, up to 17 hours 50 mins
6. Houston to Sydney, United Airlines: 13,834km, 17 hours 30 mins
7. Dallas/Fort Worth to Sydney, Qantas: 13,804km, up to 15 hours 5 mins
8. New York to Manila, Philippine Airlines: 13,712km, 16 hours 30 mins
9. San Francisco to Singapore, United Airlines and Singapore Airlines: 13,593km, up to 17 hours 35 mins
10. Johannesburg to Atlanta, Delta Air Lines: 13,581km, up to 16 hours 55 mins.
- Source: News websites