The five longest flights (as of January 2019)

Who wanted to fly in the fifty years, from Europe to North America, needed patience. The range of propeller-driven machines were often not even 2000 kilometers. A flight from Germany to New York, for example, required between landings in Iceland and in Newfoundland, where the machines were refueled.

Today, Jets can reach almost any destination on earth nonstop. The record in the case of scheduled flights on Singapore Airlines, the Airbus A350 currently holds-900 ULR non-stop from Singapore to New York. 17 to 18 hours need the machine for more than 15,000 kilometers long distance.

among the other ultra long-haul non-stop Doha – Auckland, London – Perth and Manila – New York. Possible the marathon trips to make it especially easy and economical aircraft such as Boeing’s Dreamliner B787, the A350-900 and the somewhat older B777-200 LR. Also, the double-deck Airbus A380 creates stop routes such as Dubai, Auckland or Sydney – Dallas without a tank.

UltralangstreckenflügeWas is a great circle? The largest possible circle on the surface of a sphere is called a great circle. He splits a bullet in two identical sized halves. The shortest possible connection between two points on a spherical surface goes along the great circle that passes through both points. A Jet is always flying on the great circle? The great circle is the shortest path from airport A to airport B. Often soft Jets, however, of this Route. Reasons assigned flight corridors, high mountains, for aircraft locked regions, and the Jetstream. Aircraft can save kerosene, if you fly detours, but parallel to the fast high altitude winds. Where does the data originate? The information on geographical distances on the great circle, in fact, flown distances and flight times come from the Portal The calculations for the CO2-balance of the flights conducted by atmosfair. The prices of the connection between London – Perth nonstop and with a stopover in Dubai, we have requested for 28 different flight data in a period from the end of February to the end of June, Google and Microsoft. Was used the mean value.

The Australian Airline Qantas wants to drive the non-stop Hype even further: by 2022, machines to fly in 20 hours direct from Sydney to London. Also Frankfurt and New York announced the airline as possible targets for non-stop flights. Qantas has asked Boeing and Airbus to assess the feasibility of such Connections. The range record under a large passenger jet, the A350-900 ULR keeps up to date with just under 18,000 miles.

From an ecological point of view, the super-long Nonstop seem to be flights first is a good idea. Finally, the economy trimmed Jets consume significantly less fuel than older aircraft. However, the CO2 balance of an A350 or Dreamliner is worse than I thought. Detailed calculations of the company “Atmosfair” shows that the aircraft burned on a 15,000-mile Trip nonstop about ten percent more fuel than a flight on a similar Route with a fuel stop.

Built from carbon and titanium

The paradox first appears – there is but one plausible explanation: The non-stop flight consumes more kerosene, because the Jet is in the first line half of the significantly heavier and more thrust needed. He starts with to the Limit, filled Tanks, while an aircraft is in a planned refueling stop much easier. That is also the intermediate landing, extra fuel required is less.

to be able To come up with a transport aircraft, especially fly far, it must have very large Tanks and at the same time very economical on the road. The manufacturer therefore too high for modern engines, optimised wing design and is particularly lightweight materials such as carbon fiber or titanium. The models are then LR (Long Range) or ULR (Ultra Long Range).

You can also save weight in the case of the passengers by as Singapore Airlines, instead of nearly 300, only 160 seats in the machine build, and this extra tax is only Business Class and Economy Plus is sold.


The balance of the ULR Jets from the point of view of the passengers is quite different, depending on your personal preferences:

Nonstop flights are usually expensive as the connections. Perth -London the charge is for the direct flight is around 400 Euro. Many passengers are likely to be pleased however, about the profit . Others see the intermediate stops as a welcome Pause , stretch the legs and get some fresh air.

From the point of view of the Airlines are long non-stop flights only lucrative if they are utilized. The only way to Spezialjets can make the investment to fly in. A connecting flight can be for a Airline, in spite of the additional landing fees even more economical, if it is also used by many passengers, who fly only routes one of the two part.

From a Boom in the ultra-long distance can be hardly out of the question – yet a hand is full of Airlines, such as Qantas , Qatar Airways , the Emirates and United Airlines such flights in the program.

The Lufthansa could, in theory, offer non-stop flights to Australia, not planning to do so far. “We orientate ourselves to the needs of the customer and what is economically sensible,” says company spokesman Thomas Jachnow. Australia for Lufthansa customers and with a transfer connection. “Our longest non-stop flight is Frankfurt – Buenos Aires.” For the more than 11,500 kilometres of the Boeing 747-800 on average takes 13 hours and 15 minutes.

European Airlines have been offering itself is not a marathon of flights is also due to the favourable geographic location of their hubs. The major destinations in North America, Africa and Asia are in the eight to twelve hours. Non-stop routes to Australia only and perspective were actually the still more remote new Zealand out of the question.

For Airlines in Asia and North America the Situation is somewhat different. Some of your important goals are more than the 13,000 or even 15,000 kilometers, and flight times of 14 to 18 hours in the case of direct connections is inevitable.

The longest possible route for an aircraft on earth measures roughly 20,000 kilometers. Leads you on the shortest path, a so-called great circle, on the exact opposite side of the Globe. Shanghai – Buenos Aires would be nearly such a connection – it is a 19.600 km for current Jets but still too long.

Three fictional ultra-long-range

In practice, pilots to choose not necessarily the shortest path from A to B. The Airlines long distances to take often in purchase to have the upper-level winds, the jet stream, exploit, and to save kerosene.

An extreme example of this is the flight Delhi – San Francisco by Air India. The shortest path would lead via the Himalayas, Siberia and Alaska. Actually Air India is flying with the jet stream over the Pacific ocean. The path is so although 3000 kilometers, the flight time is still an hour on the return flight goes over the Arctic.

Whether to lower fuel consumption trimmed Langstreckenjets such as the A350 or B787, the lousy climate footprint of air travel in the medium term, can improve, is unclear. Because global air transport is growing rapidly, which is why the total emissions of the sector for the time being. At the earliest in 2020, the emissions will not grow, as it has made the Airlines at least.

In all the excitement about the light Jets – the CO2 footprint of ultra-long-haul flights is huge. The return flight London – Perth with the Dreamliner, for example, 8.2 tons of CO2 per Person to be released – almost as much as the average annual emissions of a German ten tons. Currently the longest scheduled flight in the world, Singapore New York, according to the calculations of the Atmos fair even to 13 tons (there and back), because the A350 has only 160 seats.

anyone Who wants to, can compensate for the CO2 emissions for a fee. Ten tons of CO2 costs in the case of Atmosfair, about 200 Euro. With this money-efficient Stoves or solar financed assets in Africa or Asia – this will then save in one to two years, ten tons of CO2.

best for the climate it would, however, long-haul flights to avoid if possible.

staff: Max, Jack, Patrick Stotz

plan stream: first flight to Cape town – Airlines planning new routes


Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.