Qantas Boeing 787 Flies To London Ahead Of Project Sunrise Test

Qantas’ brand new Boeing 787 is flying to London ahead of its first flight to Sydney. Tomorrow, the aircraft is set to fly non-stop from London to Sydney, the second time Qantas has attempted such a feat.

Qantas is flying a Boeing 787 on a Project Sunrise test flight. Photo: Qantas

Qantas is currently attempting to launch non-stop flights between London and Sydney. The airline’s current longest flight is the Boeing 787 between London and Perth. While this counts as one of the world’s longest flights, it is not long enough for Qantas. In order to assess the feasibility of flying halfway across the world, Qantas is undertaking a series of three test flights.

Brand new Dreamliner

Qantas is being forced to operate the non-stop Project Sunrise test flights with minimal loads, in order to maximize the range of the aircraft in use. However, rather than taking an aircraft out of service to operate the tests, Qantas has a clever plan.

Qantas is currently in the middle of receiving brand new Boeing 787 aircraft from Boeing. These aircraft would need to be flown empty from Seattle to Sydney once complete. However, why not fly the aircraft via London or New York?

Qantas will operate the flight with its new centenary livery. Photo: Qantas.

Seattle – Los Angeles – London – Sydney

As such, instead of being delivered directly to Sydney, Qantas is first flying them further from Sydney. In the case of VH-ZNJ, the aircraft was first flown to Los Angeles, where Qantas has a maintenance base. This was presumably for the aircraft’s entry into service checks.

The aircraft is currently flying from Los Angeles to London to position for its marathon journey to Sydney. The aircraft departed from Los Angeles at three minutes past midnight this morning. The aircraft is currently expected to touch down in London at around 18:15 local time.

Qantas, Project Sunrise, Los Angeles To London
The flight is expected to land in London just before 18:30. Image:

Upon arrival, the aircraft will be prepped for its marathon journey to Sydney. The load onboard the flight has deliberately been limited in order to extend the Boeing 787’s range. Onboard will be a couple of members of the media, aircrew, researchers, a handful of selected test subjects, and most likely Qantas’ CEO Alan Joyce.

The aircraft is scheduled to depart London early tomorrow morning. Passengers will then need to get comfy in their seats for the epic journey. With 42 seats in the business class cabin, it is unlikely that anybody will be sat in the economy sections of the flight.

While the vast number of seats on the aircraft are economy, this might not be the final configuration for the actual flight. The world’s current longest flight only offers premium economy and business class.

Would you fly non stop from London to Sydney? Let us know why in the comments.