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18. January 2018
The world’s longest ultra-long-haul route is scheduled to take off from Houston to Sydney on Friday evening. But it isn’t the only new route taking off this year that will be breaking records.
When United Airlines flight 101 completes the 8,596-mile, 17.5 hour trip to Australia’s largest city, it will become the airline’s second longest non-stop flight, beaten only by the 8,770-mile Los Angeles to Singapore route which launched in October 2017.
United’s new route is some way short of the current longest flight in the world – Qatar Airways’ service from Doha to Auckland. Covering 9,032 miles and crossing 10 time zones, the route is operated by a Boeing 777-200LR and takes around 17 hours and 30 minutes.
Not much more than two months after United’s new ultra-long-haul service to Sydney, Australian flag carrier Qantas will launch its own non-stop, 17-hour-plus route with the debut of direct flights between Perth and London on March 24. This much-hyped new route will clock in at 17 hours 20 minutes and will easily be the longest non-stop flight from the UK
Before the end of the year, Singapore Airlines will reclaim the title for “world’s longest flight” with the reintroduction of direct flights between Singapore and New York – an 18-hour route that was operated between June 2004 and November 2013 until rising fuel prices meant it had to be scrapped.
This reintroduced route will be served by a specially-designed ultra-long-range version of the Airbus A350-900, dubbed the A350-900ULR, which will also be used on new direct routes to Los Angeles and one more US city that is yet to be named.
This aircraft may also be utilised by Qantas for non-stop flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to London and New York. These 20-hour-plus flights – hoped to be launched in 2022 – would become the longest in the world.