Qantas’ game-changing long haul flights
The first direct Qantas flight from London to Sydney in 30 years could see a massive tourism boom and cement Sydney's position as a global city, national airliner chief Alan Joyce says.
An array of top business people, volunteers and Australia's High Commissioner to London George Brandis will take part in a test flight from Heathrow to Sydney to see how a regular direct service could work from the year 2023.
Qantas staff and researchers from the University of Sydney are testing how people handle the nearly 20 hour flight, how to reduce jet lag and the best ways to keep airline pilots alert.
If the test and another flight from New York are a success, both Sydney and Melbourne could see direct flights to both London and NYC which would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.
Mr Joyce told News Corp Australia in London before the historic flight that the direct service from Europe and the US to Sydney could finally tear down the last barriers to Sydney taking its place on the world stage.
"We know that people from the east coast of the United States and Europe sometimes find it just too far away. And we think Sunrise will be phenomenal for Sydney," he said.
"It will encourage more people to travel. Making it feel that bit closer will make all the difference for families and for business activity between the cities.
"People want to overcome this last frontier."
A direct service to both New York and London could be game changers for Sydney. The Daily Telegraph's Project Sydney has already secured big changes for a global Sydney including a second airport at Badgerys Creek.
The last direct Qantas flight from London to Sydney in 1989 took more than 20 hours but the flight landing in Sydney Airport on Friday will only take just over 19 hours.
It will land 100 years to the day the first aeroplane ride from London to Australia arrived Down Under, which took 28 days.
Passengers will take part in a number of experiments including adjusting lights to people get their body clocks in synch with Sydney time, and eating the right foods to keep them awake or send them to sleep.
The flight's pilots will also be subjected to urine and brainwave tests to show how they are coping.
Qantas must do these tests to satisfy international regulators that the flights are safe for both passengers and crew, before Mr Joyce can give the direct service the green light later this year.
Qantas's London to Perth direct flight service has been a big tourism grabber for Western Australia and Mr Joyce predicted the 2023 flight service to Sydney could reap similar benefits.
He also hopes to start a similar direct service for a growing Melbourne.
"We look at the economic activity that's been generated in Perth … it's generated hundreds of jobs, it's generated a lot of tourism. We think the same could happen in the tourism market in Sydney.
"The flight to Sydney has grabbed the public's attention here in London. All the major UK newspapers and TV channels are interested.
"So many people in the UK have a trip to Australia on their bucket list. And there a lot of families who have relatives in Australia. And they want to make it a little easier to see their family and friends."