The longest non-stop passenger flight touched down in Australia, Sunday, October 20, after more than 19 hours in the air, a milestone journey from New York. Qantas flight QF7879 took 19 hours and 16 minutes to fly direct from New York to Sydney in the first of three "ultra long-haul" journeys planned by the airline this year.

The national flag carrier is operating the test flights -- which also include one from London to Sydney -- as it weighs a rollout of regular services on marathon routes from the United States and Britain to Australia.

Just 49 people traveled on the Boeing 787-9 to minimize the weight on board and give the plane sufficient fuel range to travel more than 16,000 kilometers without re-fueling.

The Australian and International Pilots Association, which represents Qantas pilots, has raised concerns about whether pilots will get enough quality rest during ultra long-range flights to maintain peak performance.

It has called for a "scientific long-term study" into the impacts on crews. (AFP)

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