Trivia answer: The world’s longest non-stop commercial flight?

Firstly, many thanks to all the Bangalore Aviation readers who participated in last week’s trivia question – Which is the longest scheduled commercial airline flight ?

For the purpose of definition I placed four criteria for an ultra long-haul non-stop flight:

  1. Operated by a commercial airliner with a definite schedule
  2. No intermediate stop-over point within its scheduled duration
  3. More than 12,000 km in route length
  4. Over 15 hours of scheduled flying time

The correct answer is Singapore Airline’s flight SQ21 from Newark to Singapore, 16,600km (10,314 miles, 8,963 nm), 18 hours 40 minutes scheduled flying time. Congratulations to Dominik from Poland for the right answer.

Incidentally Singapore Airline’s SQ22 from Singapore to Newark follows a “great circle” route of 15,700 km, while SQ21 follows a “polar” route which is 16,600 km.

The second longest route is also by Singapore Airlines. SQ37 (formerly SQ19) from Los Angeles to Singapore takes 18 hours 10 minutes to complete the 14,033 km (8,771 mile, 7,577 nm) trip.

Both these flights are operated by the Airbus A340-500.

Delta operates India’s longest flight, the world’s fourth longest from Mumbai to Atlanta using the Boeing 777LR. DL185 takes 17 hours to cover the 13,739 km (8,537 mile, 7,395nm) journey. This is also the longest currently scheduled flight by the Boeing 777LR. For a full list click here.

On 10 December 2005, a Boeing 777-200LR completed the world’s longest non-stop passenger flight, travelling eastwards from Hong Kong to London a 21,602 km (13,422 miles) in roughly 22 hours and 40 minutes. This was not a scheduled flight and although the airplane seats 301, there were only 27 passengers aboard this flight, I guess the balance weight being made up by fuel.

This is not, however, the record for longest time staying aloft for an airliner. This record is held by the 1939 Berlin-New York non stop flight of a reciprocal piston powered Focke-Wulf Fw 200 built for Lufthansa (flight time 24 hours and 56 minutes). Now that would be a very painful flight.

Image courtesy Singapore Airlines

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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