Qantas Dreamliner lands as part of trial for what would be the longest commercial route

A Qantas flight from London to Sydney has touched down safely after 19 hours and 19 minutes, as part of a trial for what would be the worlds longest-ever commercial route.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner took off on Thursday morning UK time and landed in Sydney at lunchtime on Friday. We saw a double sunrise, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said after stepping off the flight. Qantas named the effort Project Sunrise after the airlines endurance flights during the second world war.

The test flight carried just 40 people, including crew, had enough fuel for roughly another 1 hour 45 minutes of flight time when it landed. A Dreamliner can usually carry up to 300 people, but at present it is impossible to fly a plane at full capacity in terms of both passengers and cargo from London to Sydney without refuelling.

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The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner lands in Sydney on Friday. Photograph: James Morgan/AP

Those on board were mostly Qantas employees fitted with monitors to track sleep patterns, food and drink intake, lighting and physical movement.

It was the second aircraft to fly the route non-stop, with the first touching down in August 1989. The Boeing 747-400 that undertook the journey carried only crew, and is now in a museum.

Qantas flew a Dreamliner non-stop from New York to Sydney last month, although the route is about 1,600km (1,000 miles) shorter.

It comes as the Australian national carrier celebrates 100 years of service. It needs to get pilots to agree on contract terms and a sign-off from Australias aviation regulator to launch the flights by 2023.

Among those at Sydney airport to greet QF7879 were prime minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese, as well as Qantas chairman Richard Goyder.

Australian Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report

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