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World first air travel health partnership between University and Qantas

June 23, 2017

Qantas passengers are set to benefit from a world first collaboration between the airline and one of Australia’s leading academic institutions to reshape the travel experience.

The University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre will work with Qantas to help develop the airline’s new approach to long haul travel ahead of the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights this year.

The centre brings together researchers across a variety of fields from nutrition to physical activity, sleep and complex systems modelling.

Research projects include strategies to counteract jetlag, on-board exercise and movement, menu design and service timing, pre and post-flight preparation, transit lounge wellness concepts and cabin environment including lighting and temperature.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the partnership has the potential to transform the journey for passengers, particularly on the long haul routes that the Dreamliner is scheduled to operate.

“While the Dreamliner aircraft itself is already a step change for passengers with its larger windows, increased cabin humidity and lower cabin altitude, the findings that will come from Charles Perkins Centre researchers will allow Qantas to design and develop a range of new innovations and strategies to complement the Dreamliner experience,” Mr Joyce said.

“We’re all looking at how we can prepare passengers ahead of their long haul flight, and of course on board and when they arrive at their destinations; we want our customers to feel their best at the end of their flight with us, ” said Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO.

“The centre’s research has already influenced what meals and beverages we’ll be serving onboard and when, cabin lighting and temperature as well as the airport lounge experience.

“Neil Perry is working with the centre on new menus for the 787 flights so we are excited that one of Australia’s best culinary minds is teaming up with the best scientific minds to design the best possible menu to look after both health and hunger.”

Qantas and the Charles Perkins Centre are looking at opportunities to involve some Qantas frequent flyers in trials that involve wearable technology in the measurement of existing biorhythms during travel, enabling future products to be developed and designed with the insight of robust data.

Professor Steve Simpson, Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre, said the partnership is hugely exciting as it’s the first time there has been an integrated multidisciplinary collaboration between an airline and a university around in-flight health and wellbeing beyond medical emergency.

“There is the potential for extraordinary health, science and engineering discoveries and innovations to come out of this research partnership, which will also provide the evidence-base needed for Qantas to implement strategies to further improve how people feel after a long haul flight, ” Professor Stephen Simpson, Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre.

The University of Sydney’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Michael Spence, said the collaboration between the Australian airline and university reflected the vision of both institutions.

“The Dreamliner is a transformative project for Qantas, as the Charles Perkins Centre was for the University of Sydney when we brought together multidisciplinary teams of scholars to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing health problems.

“Adapting and innovating is in both our DNA. The real-world outcomes from this new partnership have the potential to significantly alter the future experience of long haul flying.”

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