Air India is now operating the world’s longest flight.
Air India is now operating the world’s longest flight—but the airline isn’t operating a new route.
Instead of flying from Delhi to San Francisco over the Atlantic Ocean, the airline now flies over the Pacific, which adds almost 900 miles to the flight path. But flight times are now almost two hours less than they were on the old route.
The paradoxical flight route is possible thanks to the Earth’s rotation and tailwinds. By catching the Jet Stream over the North Pacific Ocean, the Air India flight is able to travel further faster. Depending on the speed of the winds, traveling over the Pacific will help Air India cut between one and three hours off each flight.
The flight is operated by a Boeing 777-200ER. For each hour that the aircraft is in flight, it burns about 9,600 liters of fuel. The longer flight path could translate to significant savings for the airline.
The new Air India flight covers 9,400 miles in 14.5 hours. Previously the airline’s flight from Delhi to San Francisco covered 8,500 miles in about 16.5 hours.
Airlines have been volleying for the title of world’s longest flight for quite some time. Air India came out of nowhere to nab the title of longest flight, in terms of distance. The longest flight, in terms of time spent on aircraft, belongs to Emirates. The airline’s flight from Dubai to Panama City covers 8,590 miles in 17 hours and 35 minutes.
Singapore Airlines will likely take the title in 2018 when it begins operating flights between Singapore and New York City. That flight will cover 10,250 miles in 19 hours.