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Qantas tests world’s longest commercial flight from New York to Sydney

MELBOURNE – Australia’s flag carrier Qantas (QAN.AX) completed on Sunday a nonstop test flight from New York to Sydney, researching how the world’s longest potential commercial airplane journey of nearly 20 hours would impact pilots, crew and passengers.

Carrying 50 passengers and crew on board, Qantas Flight 7879 on a new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner touched down in Sydney on Sunday morning after a 16,200-kilometre (10,066-mile) journey which lasted 19 hours 16 minutes.

“This is a really historic moment for Qantas, a really historic moment for Australian aviation and a really historic moment for world aviation,” Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce, who took the flight, said after landing.

With demand for air travel rapidly growing and aircraft performance improving, carriers are increasingly looking into ultra-long-haul travel. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects the worldwide number of annual passengers to grow from 4.6 billion this year to 8.2 billion by 2037.

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