AviationWho are the kings of the long-distance skies in 2022?

Up, up and away on the world's longest flights

Singapore Airlines' flight SQ23 from New York JFK to Singapore Changi is currently the world's longest non-stop flight.
Singapore Airlines' flight SQ23 from New York JFK to Singapore Changi is currently the world's longest non-stop flight. Photo Credit: Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is the undisputed champion of long-distance flying; Cathay Pacific is the contender; Qantas has its eyes on the crown, but a surprise outsider, Biman Bangladesh, has this week counted itself out of the race by dumping a new route linking Dhaka with Toronto in Canada.

Biman planned to launch regular flights between Bangladesh and Canada in June and has already operated a non-stop commercial flight that touched down in Toronto after 18 hours and 35 minutes in the air. It was operated by a Boeing 787-9.

But the airline has decided that the non-stop route is commercially unviable and will instead opt for a one-stop service, most likely refuelling in Europe.

Singapore Airlines' flight SQ23 is currently the world's longest non-stop flight. Its New York JFK to Singapore Changi is in the air, on average, for 17 hours and 40 minutes. The 15,349km flight is operated by an Airbus A350-900ULR aircraft.

Cathay Pacific is reported to be planning the world’s longest passenger flight by rerouting its New York to Hong Kong service over the Atlantic in a flight path that steers clear of Russia. The non-stop 16,618km journey takes 17 hours and 50 minutes.

The flight will leave New York and cross the Atlantic Ocean, Europe and Asia instead of its usual route over the Pacific Ocean, the airline said.
However, Cathay may not hold the record for long as the route may change again as summer tailwinds over the Atlantic become less powerful - making the Pacific a more economical option.

Qantas will resume its Perth-London service in June and is pressing ahead with its Project Sunrise non-stop flights from Sydney to London (17,000km) and Melbourne to New York (16,700km), expected to launch in 2024.

The ultra-long-range flights are possible thanks to improved technology on aircraft like the A350-900 and the Boeing 787-9. These aircraft are also more cost efficient.

As prevailing winds can affect flight times, distance travelled is a more relevant guide to the world’s longest flights.

Top 5 of the world's longest direct flights

  1. New York to Singapore / Singapore Airlines / 15,349km / Airbus A350-900ULR
  2. Newark to Singapore / Singapore Airlines / 15,326km / Airbus A350-900ULR
  3. Perth to London/ Qantas / 14,500km / Boeing 787-9 (resumes June 2022)
  4. Dallas to Melbourne / Qantas / 14,471km / Boeing 787-9 (launches December 2022)
  5. New York to Auckland / Air New Zealand / 14,207km / Boeing 787-9 (launches September 2022)

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