Qantas To Operate Non-Stop London Sydney Test Flight

In just two days time, Qantas is set to operate its London to Sydney Project Sunrise test flight. The flight will be the second time that Qantas has attempted the huge feat.

Qantas is due to operate the London to New York flight with its new centenary 787. Photo: Qantas.

Non-stop flights between London and Sydney are currently Qantas’ biggest goal. As part of Project Sunrise, the airline is trying to turn the dream into reality. As part of the preparations to launch the flight, Qantas is hosting a series of extra-long test flights.

Two of these are flying from New York to Sydney, while one will fly London to Sydney. This London to Sydney flight will take place on Thursday, becoming the second time that Qantas will operate the flight.


Project Sunrise

Project Sunrise sees Qantas attempting to make ultra-long-haul flights from Sydney to London and New York a reality. However, they currently don’t have aircraft suitable for this mission. Both Airbus and Boeing have been invited to propose ideas for a suitable aircraft.


In addition to the aircraft, however, Qantas needs to think about the passengers and crew onboard the aircraft. The Project Sunrise flights are designed specifically to test this. As the Boeing 787 is not able to fly from London to Sydney with a full load, the passenger numbers will be limited.

project sunrise route
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will have only 40 people on board. Photo: Qantas

This means that only around 40 people can be onboard the flight. This will include invited media, in addition to researchers investigating the effects of ultra-long-haul flights on the human body. The flight will be operated by the airline’s new Boeing 787 wearing the centenary livery.


Not the first time

This will not be the first time that Qantas has attempted to fly non-stop between London and Sydney. The airline previously operated the flight non-stop in 1989. The flight was operated by a Boeing 747-400 being delivered from the Boeing factory in Seattle. This is much the same as Thursday’s flight which will fly from Seattle to London, before being delivered to Qantas in Sydney.

Qantas, Boeing 747, London to Sydney
This Boeing 747 flew non-stop from London to Sydney. Photo: Qantas

That flight lasted 20-hours and 9-minutes. However, Qantas had calculated flight time as being between 19-hours and 23-minutes and 19-hours and 54-minutes. The Boeing 747 was loaded to the brim with a special extra-dense fuel and was yet to have its cabin fitted.

However, this week’s flight will be on a ready to go Boeing 787. The aircraft due to be used for the flight is VH-ZNJ. The aircraft flew from Seattle to Los Angeles on the 7th of November. As Qantas has a maintenance base in Los Angeles, the aircraft could be going through entry into service checks. It will then likely be flown to London today or tomorrow prior to the big flight on Thursday.

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


Leave a Reply

9 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
11 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

when will they make the decision on aircraft? I heard they would do so at the Dubai Airshow

Richard Allison

Hopefully at Dubai

Andrew Rogers

I would fly London to Sydney non stop in a heart-beat.


i would fly any long haul flight if it meant no stop over…………..go QANTAS


I will probably be the only person here that likes stopovers 😉 I always travel as a tourist and I like the opportunity to see the foreign airports. It also gives me opportunity to buy some local stuff like food or handcraft even though I am not visiting the country itself. Plus I can stretch my legs and so on… But I know it is only me being this crazy 😉

Lester odea

Your not the only person who enjoys stop overseas,these long haul flights ,in a way are making the journey boring,not to mention having to deal with the endurance of 15,17 or longer.this will be unpleasant to meny passengers. Flying harf way around the world in one go,not for me.

John Dorward

Overflying the Middle East countries is a big plus. Combating DVT potential problems must be addressed by seat pitch, in flight exercise etc. Love the potential of no intermediate stops. Well done QF.


I fly SYD- LHR regularly and there is absolutely no way I would contemplate a non stop option . How many commenters on this subject have actually flown that route ? . It always a stop over for me and will continue that way .

Nick J Sydney

100%; a regular on the run from Sydney to London and its either Qantas (most often) or Cathay Pacific (via HK and also One World). Sydney to Perth to London is the closest I can get to a painless pitstop (being a domestic transfer in Perth). Singapore and HK are great places to stop but just the sheer hassle of the transit. Hopefully this will become a reality and not just fluff from Qantas.


In bussiness configuration maybe. In sardine class lots of people will need assistance to walk of the plane.

W John Skiggs

Ha ha’ – It would beat the 34-hour flight LHR to MEL which stopped everywhere including Zurich to Rangoon back in 1971., “What’s to fret about?”