(Washington, DC – August 30, 2019)  CAPA President Captain Larry Rooney weighs in on Quantas Airlines’ test of 19-hour flights between Sydney And New York: A First For Commercial Airlines.

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Australia’s Qantas Airways is testing direct flights from New York and London to Sydney, with flight times lasting 19 hours. No commercial airline has ever flown direct from New York to Australia.

The airline is calling the test flights “Project Sunrise,” which are scheduled to begin in October. They’re hoping to learn more about how to make such a long flight bearable for those aboard.

“It’ll certainly be an endurance test not only for the passengers, but for the flight crews, says Captain Larry Rooney, president of the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations.

Passengers on the Qantas test flights will be fitted with wearable technology to measure their melatonin levels, and the pilots will wear EEGs to track brainwave patterns. Rooney says he is most concerned about those onboard developing hypoxia because of the long exposure to dry air and the altitude.

“The typical cabin of an aircraft would be equivalent to Denver plus 1,000 feet or so,” he says. “But for an extended period of time, rather than the 10 hours that would be pretty commonplace today, to extend it to double that amount of time, I think that that would be something that the people would be looking at.”