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First Ultra-Long-Haul Commercial Flight Between Sydney And New York Touches Down

The first direct commercial flight between Sydney and New York landed in Australia after 19 hours and 16 minutes in the air.

There were 49 passengers and crew on board the first-of-its-kind Qantas flight, which was used to run safety and health experiments when spending nearly 20 hours in the air.

Data from the experiments, which measured the wellbeing of staff during the flight -- including pilot brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness -- will be used to help with crew rosters and customer service on board the ultra-long-haul service.

Alan Joyce and the pilots who flew between New York and Sydney. Image: Getty Images.

Passenger comfort and health were also monitored during the flight. Exercise classes were run, and moderation of cabin lighting combined with a special menu were used to reduce the impact of jet lag.

"We know that 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," Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, said on Sunday after arriving in Sydney.

Joyce also said customers will be able to save time travelling to and from Australia by flying direct but more tests need to be conducted before the flight can become a regular service.

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Qantas Captain Sean Golding (left) and first officer Jeremy Sutherland (right) wearing EEG monitoring headbands. Image: Getty Images.

The flight also signifies Australia's growth as a global nation with direct fights making Aussie cities attractive destinations for both business people and tourists.

“This world-first flight heralds a new chapter in securing closer ties with one of our major trading partners, enhancing Sydney’s reputation as the international business hub of the Asia Pacific region,” Katherine O’Regan, Executive Director of the Sydney Business Chamber, said.

“Having direct flights to Sydney from the city that never sleeps is another step in promoting Sydney as the number one destination for business travellers and tourists alike.”

Qantas plane lands in Sydney. Image: Getty Images.

Two more research flights are planned in 2019. Qantas will conduct a London to Sydney service in November and another between New York and Sydney in December.

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Flights direct to New York and London from Sydney could become regular services as soon as 2023.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au