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New York to Sydney flight arrives at 19 hours, 16 minutes

By Clyde Hughes
New York to Sydney flight arrives at 19 hours, 16 minutes
A handout photo made available by Australian carrier Qantas on March 24, 2018. Qantas announced Sunday that a nonstop 19-hour flight from New York to Sydney landed safely Sunday. Photo by Brent Winstone/EPA-EFE

Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Qantas's historic 10,200-mile non-stop flight from New York to Sydney landed Sunday in 19 hours and 16 minutes, the first of three test runs to see if such routes can be done safely and with comfort for passengers.

The 50 passengers and crew on the flight left New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Sydney Airport were equipped with devices that monitor their wellbeing during the long trip on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

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"This is a really historic moment for Qantas, a really historic moment for Australian aviation and a really historic moment for world aviation," said Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, who was on the flight. "So we need to show that this can be done safely, it can be done with the rest that we have for the crews."

If the flights prove to be safe, Qantas plans to run the route commercially by 2022.

The nonstop flight is shorter than the current New York City to Sydney Qantas flight with a stop in Los Angeles, which takes 22 hours and 20 minutes, according to the airliner's website. The flight's cruising altitude started at 36,000 feet because of the extra fuel on board but increases to 40,000 feet as it burns off.

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The non-stop flight is named "Project Sunrise" after the airline's "Double Sunrise" endurance flights during WorldWar II, which were long enough to see two sunrises. Qantas will eventually fly direct Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to New York and London.

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