The Qantas Sydney-Dallas route, operated by A380s, is currently the longest non-stop commercial airline route in the world. Emirates and Singapore Airlines are likely soon to challenge the title – but those two carriers now seem likely to be beaten by a third contender.
Air India is looking to fly between Bengaluru and San Francisco, which it estimates it could cover in about 17.5 hours. Bengaluru, the official name of the city, is known better outside India as Bangalore, famed for its call centres and IT industry. Most flights connecting the two destinations take about 20-22 hours and are routed through intermediary points like Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Frankfurt and London.
DNAIndia.com reports that Air India plans to use a B-777 200 LR aircraft to link Bengaluru and San Francisco. They are 14,014km (8708 miles) apart.
Singapore Airlines, meanwhile, is earmarked to be first customer for a special, ultra-long-range version of the Airbus A350 that will let the Singaporean airline regain its ability to fly non-stop between Singapore and Newark, gateway to New York.
SIA formerly flew the route (longest commercial route in the world) with four-engined A340-500s, configured all business class. SIA dropped it in 2013. The A340’s four engines made fuel use too expensive to be commercially viable.
Since then, the longest non-stop commercial airline route in the world has been the Qantas Sydney-Dallas route. The title will next year pass to Emirates, when the Dubai-based carrier launches a Dubai to Panama City route, which is marginally longer.
The Qantas Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth leg clocks in at about 8576 miles (13,802 kilometres).
Emirates will beat that marginally. Dubai to Panama City is about 8585 miles (13,816 kilometres) – so about 15km longer, winning the title by 0.1%.
Qantas took the title in November 2013, when Singapore Airlines dropped its nonstop flights between Singapore and both Newark and Los Angeles. Those were 9525 miles (15,329 kilometres) and 8770 miles (14,114 kilometres) respectively.
SIA wants the world’s longest route mantle back again and it should regain it in 2018.
The A350 is Airbus’s equivalent of the B787 Dreamliner and Airbus claims it is considerably more fuel efficient than its Boeing rival. Many observers wonder why Qantas hasn’t ordered any.
Written by Peter Needham