October 28, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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The longest flight in the world is suspended by coronavirus

The longest flight in the world is suspended by coronavirus

Sydney (CNN) – When traveling more than two kilometers is a pipe dream beyond the reach of millions, it is not surprising that the mood is not right to go ahead with plans for 19-hour nonstop flight services between London and Sydney.

Australian airline Qantas broke two world records last November with the experimental research flight GF789, which became the longest passenger flight in the world by commercial airlines both for distance, at 17,800 kilometers (about 11,060 miles), and for duration in the air, at 19 hours and 19 minute.

The flight is part of Qantas’ ambitious plan dubbed Project Sunrise which also includes nonstop services between New York and Sydney.

Described as chief executive of Qantas, Alan Joyce as the “last frontier” of commercial aviation, the world seems ready to usher in a new generation of ultra long-haul flights. The airline has been expected to announce a decision in recent weeks about whether to continue service.

Then Covid-19 appeared on the horizon.

Qantas flight QF7879 came to land at the record-breaking end of the flight.

James D Morgan / Qantas

“There is great potential for the Sunrise Project but the timing is not right now given the impact Covid-19 has on world travel,” Joyce said in a call to reporters on May 5, in a statement confirmed to CNN by Qantas.

Qantas hopes to make the new route part of its regular schedule in 2023. It was announced in December that the airline had chosen Airbus as a partner for the route and is working on an agreement for up to 12 modified A350s.

“We clearly talked to Airbus about the 350s,” Joyce said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “When we are in the recovery phase of Covid-19, it is not right for us to order the large number of aircraft and capital expenditures needed.”

The project is still heavily dependent on airline radar, with Joyce describing Project Sunrise as “a long-term opportunity.”

Qantas share a video last month revealed how his plane was treated and cared for after being taken out of service during a pandemic.

All Qantas scheduled international flights are currently suspended, as is its subsidiary Jetstar. Together they have flown more than 150 aircraft, including all their A380, 747 and B787.

Qantas celebrates its 100th birthday in 2020. The airline’s original mission was to serve sparsely populated North Australia and the first aircraft was the Avro 504, a biplane before World War I that could accommodate a pilot and one passenger.

Barry Neild from CNN, Richard Quest, Michelle Toh, Lilit Marcus, and Miquel Ros contributed to this report.

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