With 49 people on board, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flight completed the 10,066-mile journey from New York to Sydney in 19 hours and 16 minutes.
Qantas Group Chief executive Alan Joyce said: “This is a really significant first for aviation. Hopefully, it’s a preview of a regular service that will speed up how people travel from one side of the globe to the other.”
Research into the health and well-being of those on board were conducted during the flight with tests ranging from monitoring pilot brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness to exercise classes for passengers.
Joyce added: “We know ultra long haul flights pose some extra challenges but that’s been true every time technology has allowed us to fly further. The research we’re doing should give us better strategies for improving comfort and wellbeing along the way.”
The next test flight will take place in November, from London to Sydney, while there will be another New York to Sydney flight before the end of the year.
Qantas has said it hopes to operate direct flights from three cities on Australia’s east coast — Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane — and New York and London by 2022 or 2023.
Captain Sean Golding said: “Overall, we’re really happy with how the flight went and it’s great have some of the data we need to help assess turning this into a regular service.”
The Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane arrives at Sydney International Airport after flying direct from New York on Sunday, October 20, 2019.
David Gray /Getty Images for Qantas/GETTY IMAGES
How will the passengers be monitored?
Researchers from Sydney University’s Charles Perkins Centre, Monash University and the Alertness Safety and Productivity Cooperative Research Centre — a scientific program backed by the Australian government — will examine the impact of the long flight on those on board.
Passengers in the main cabin wore monitoring devices, and experts from the Charles Perkins Centre will study how their “health, wellbeing and body clock” was impacted by a set of variables that include lighting, food and drink, movement, sleep patterns and inflight entertainment.
Those on board were advised to keep a daily log in the lead-up to the flight and for two weeks afterwards, to show how they feel and how they’ve coped with jet lag.
Pilots and cabin crew will also keep sleep diaries. Cameras were mounted in the cockpit to record pilot alertness.
“People seem to be wildly different when it comes to the experience of jetlag — and we need more research on what contributes to jetlag and travel fatigue, so we can try and reduce the impact of long-haul flights,” Professor Stephen Simpson, academic director of the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, told CNN Travel.
“We have a long way to go in terms of understanding how the wide variety of influences — including nutrition, hydration, exercise, sleep and light — might work together for maximum benefit.”
Monash University scientists will focus on the flight crew, recording their melatonin levels before, during and after the flights, as well as studying brain wave data from electroencephalogram devices worn by the pilots.
This information will then be shared with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority “to help inform regulatory requirements associated with ultra-long-haul flights,” Qantas said in a statement.
Francesca Street and Emily Dixon contributed to this report.
All systems are go as Dubai gears up for the grand spectacle of Expo 2020.
After six years of preparation and around $8 billion of investment, we are just one year from showtime: October 20, 2020.
The six-month showcase of innovation is expected to draw 25 million visitors, with 192 countries represented, and if history is a guide the impact could be much longer-lasting.
Rendering of the 1,080-acre Expo 2020 site in Dubai.
‘The works of all nations’
The Expo — sometimes referred to as a World Fair — was conceived as an international exhibition to showcase the best of every nation, with an emphasis on innovation, technology, and architecture.
The first edition was held in London in 1851 with the title: “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations.”
The event was dominated by the treasures of the host nation, and the network of colonies Britain then held power over. But France, Russia, the US, and Chile were also represented, sending jewels, tools, and ornaments for display.
The grand exhibitions have been held ever since at regular intervals – now settled into a five-year cycle — with an ever-expanding network of host nations and participants.
The Great Exhibition in Crystal Palace, 1851.
Hulton Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Inventions and legacies
Expos have often been the stage for audacious inventions to be revealed to the public, many of which have stood the test of time.
London 1851 saw the debut of vulcanized rubber for the creation of tyres, and an early form of the fax machine.
Philadelphia 1876 saw the introduction of the telephone and one of the earliest typewriters. Paris 1900 gave us the diesel engine and the first movie with sound.
The events have often reshaped their host cities and introduced new landmarks. The Eiffel Tower was unveiled for Paris 1889 — to heavy derision at the time — and Seattle 1962 produced the city’s iconic Space Needle.
“One measure of a successful Expo is whether it has a societal impact in urban planning,” says Jennifer Minner, associate professor in city and regional planning at Cornell University, and a specialist in the history of Expos.
Seattle offers one of the more positive examples, Minner believes, noting that it bequeathed a “successful civic space with institutions like the Pacific Science Center and beautifully preserved architecture,” as well as a legacy of public transport improvements.
The academic adds that other editions have more controversial legacies, such as Milan 2015, marred by construction delays, overspending, and malfunctioning canals.
Expos have expanded in scope and scale since the grand exhibitions of the 19th century.
Dubai’s ambition for 2020 can be seen in the 1,000-acre site and the bold choice of theme: “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”
Organizers are anticipating lasting gains from the event, projecting an economic dividend of more than $33 billion and the creation of more than 900,000 jobs by 2031.
Innovations in sustainable living represent a worthy target – and justification – for Expos deep into their third century, says Minner.
“These events…need to be real models for how we live rather than being just about touring technologies” she says.
Many burning questions remain as to what will be revealed at Expo 2020 and what the overall impacts will be.
And those questions will begin to be answered one year from now.