Qantas completes test of longest non-stop passenger flight

SYDNEY - Australian carrier Qantas has completed a test of the longest non-stop commercial passenger flight as part of research on how the journey could affect pilots, crew and passengers.

The Boeing 787-9 with 49 people on board took 19 hours and 16 minutes to fly from New York to Sydney, a 16,200-km (10,066-mile) route.

Next month, the company plans to test a non-stop flight from London to Sydney.

Qantas expects to decide on whether to start the routes by the end of 2019.

If it goes ahead with them, the services would start operating in 2022 or 2023.

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No commercial aircraft yet has the range to fly such an ultra-long haul route with a full passenger and cargo load, Reuters news agency reports.

To give the plane sufficient fuel range to avoid re-fuelling, the Qantas flight took off with maximum fuel, restricted baggage load and no cargo. The Boeing 787-9 arrives at Sydney international airport

Passengers set their watches to Sydney time after boarding and were kept awake until night fell in eastern Australia to reduce their jetlag.

Six hours later, they were served a high-carbohydrate meal and the lights were dimmed to encourage them to sleep. On-board tests included monitoring pilot brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness as well as exercise classes for passengers and analysis of the impact of crossing so many time zones on people’s bodies.

Banning out-of-hours email ‘harmful to some staff’

LONDON -: Banning staff from accessing their work emails outside office hours could do more harm than good to employee wellbeing, a study suggests. University of Sussex researchers found while a ban could help some staff switch off, it could also stop people achieving work goals, causing stress. Companies are increasingly curbing email use to tackle burnout. France has even legislated on the issue.

But human resources body CIPD said it agreed with the university’s findings.

According to the research, strict policies on email use could be harmful to employees with “high levels of anxiety and neuroticism”. How do you tackle stress in the workplace?

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That was because such employees needed to feel free to respond to a “growing accumulation of emails”, or they could end up feeling even more stressed and overloaded, the researchers said. Dr Emma Russell, a senior lecturer in management at the University of Sussex Business School, said despite the best intentions of policies limiting email use, a one-size-fits-all approach should be avoided.

“[Blanket bans] would be unlikely to be welcomed by employees who prioritise work performance goals and who would prefer to attend to work outside of hours if it helps them get their tasks completed.

“People need to deal with email in the way that suits their personality and their goal priorities in order to feel like they are adequately managing their workload.”

Some companies have previously introduced measures to try to stop people checking work emails on holiday

Companies to have restricted email use include German carmaker Volkswagen, which has configured its servers so emails can be sent to employees’ phones from half an hour before the working day begins to half an hour after it ends only and not at all during weekends.

And, last year, Lidl bosses in Belgium banned all internal email traffic between 18:00 and 07:00 to help staff clear their minds and enjoy time off.

Governments are now looking at implementing the policies more widely. A law passed in France in 2017 requires companies with more than 50 employees to establish hours when staff should not send or answer emails, although some doubt everyone will follow the rules.

And, earlier this year, New York City discussed proposals to become the first city in the US to grant employees the “right to disconnect” after work. At the time, Rafael L EspinalJr, who proposed the idea, said: “Technology has really blurred the lines between our work hours and personal time.”