Cathay Pacific may be on the verge of setting the record for World’s longest commercial flight. The Hong Kong-based airline is considering redirecting its Hong Kong-to-New York flight route to avoid Russian airspace.
Rather than fly over the Pacific as it normally does, the airline’s new route would have it heading in the other direction, taking the plane over the Atlantic. The flight would cover 10,357 miles. Currently, Singapore Airlines’ Singapore-to-New York route holds the record for world’s longest commercial flight, covering 9,537 miles and taking 18 hours and 40 minutes.
Cathay Pacific has yet to commit to the new route. The airline did, however, tell CNN that it’s not thinking of bypassing Russia because of the war in Ukraine but because the transatlantic route offers a favorable tailwind.
“We compare flight routes daily, and will plan and fly what is the most efficient routing on the day,” the airline told CNN. “The transatlantic option relies on the facilitation of strong seasonal tailwinds at this time of the year in order for the flight time to be between 16 and 17 hours, thereby making it more favorable than the transpacific route.”
Regardless of which route the airline chooses, Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A350-1000 aircraft can comfortably make the 16- to 17-hour flight.