Air India has the longest flight in the world – periodically. I recently posted about the Top 5 Longest Flights In The World and some of my readers were quick to point out that I had missed out Air India. It had totally passed me by that Air India had recently flown the longest flight in the world.
Air India fly from Delhi to San Francisco which has a great circle distance of around 12,400 kilometres. Based on this alone, the flight would not make the Top 20 based on distance. Of course, airlines can rarely fly the shortest route and Air India was flying around 13,900 kilometres which makes the route the second longest scheduled route by distance flown.
In the middle of October, Air India decided to take advantage of the tail winds across the Pacific Ocean at this time of year and route the flight this way. Despite being 1,400 kilometres longer at 15,300 kilometres, the flight took 2 hours less than the usual schedule due to the winds. This distance is just over 1,000 kilometres longer than the current longest flight in the world.
It is planned to route the aircraft over the Pacific Ocean through to early 2017 when the route will have to change due to the change in winds aloft. It is not a year round service at this distance so periodically it would not be the longest flight in the world.
Singapore Strikes Back
All of this will be moot in 2018 when Singapore Airlines will once again reclaim their crown. They will re-start their Singapore to New York route which is over 15,350 kilometres long scheduled all year round. The airline will use the new Airbus 350 which will make for a comfortable flight.
The longest flight is more a competition for airlines to promote themselves and aviation geeks to discuss rather than being anything truly meaningful. It’s human nature to like to know the longest, shortest, best, worst and so on.
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