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Airline testing first-ever direct flight from NYC to Australia to see if humans can handle the haul

2019-08-23

Australian airline Qantas on Tuesday announced plans to launch the first-ever nonstop trip between New York City and Australia. (Getty Images)

THAT’S a flight!

Crocodile Dundee could slice his way to New York in just one hop if Australian carrier Qantas makes good on plans announced Thursday to launch the first-ever non-stop from one of New York’s airports to Sydney.

The trip would take roughly 19 hours, slightly longer than Singapore Airlines’ 18 1/2-hour haul from Newark Airport to Singapore, which is currently the longest commercial flight on the planet. To cut across the globe in that time, Qantas plans to use bulking new Boeing 787-9 planes.

Before Qantas starts sticking people in pressurized cabins for 19 hours straight, it will complete a series of test flights to study what happens to the health of flight crews and passengers when they spend that much time on an airplane.

A kangaroo crosses a dirt road in Western Australia.
A kangaroo crosses a dirt road in Western Australia. (Getty Images/iStock)

The airline will complete three test runs later this year, and will use its findings to set a sleep schedule for pilots and figure out how to design an airplane interior that will make the trip tolerable for travelers.

“Ultra-long haul flying presents a lot of common sense questions about the comfort and well being of passengers and crew," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement. "These (test) flights are going to provide invaluable data to help answer them.“

An aerial view of Sydney, Australia.
An aerial view of Sydney, Australia. (Getty Images/iStock)

Joyce claimed that no airline has ever done such detailed research before launching a new service.

It’s unclear if Qantas’ non-stop flight will leave from Kennedy Airport or Newark Airport.

Those traveling from New York to Down Under typically connect through Los Angeles, San Francisco or Dallas. The full trip to Australia takes at least 28 hours.

Qantas airlines Boeing 787
Qantas airlines Boeing 787 (Fabio Lavarone/Getty Images)

The decision to launch the nonstop service from New York could have something to do with the city’s Australian population, which has steadily grown in the last two decades.

A 2017 analysis from CUNY’s Baruch College found that roughly 10,000 Australians live in the five boroughs, about twice as many the number counted by the Census Bureau in 2005.

Hayley Parker, 33, is originally from Perth, Australia and has lived in New York since 2012. She said a direct flight to her homeland would be a godsend.

“I’ve taken flights between Australia and New York 10 times since I’ve lived here,” said Parker. “I’m a mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old. As you can imagine, the trip with all of its connections is an absolute nightmare.”

Qantas is also exploring the possibility of launching nonstop service between London and Sydney.