Cathay Pacific Airways plans to reroute its New York-Hong Kong service in an effort to avoid Russian airspace. It will be the longest passenger flight in the world by distance. The flight is expected to last 17 hours.
According to a memo seen by Bloomberg News, Cathay will fly from John F. Kennedy International Airport over the Atlantic Ocean, the UK, southern Europe, and central Asia.
Based on FlightRadar24 data, the distance of 16,618 kilometers would surpass Singapore Airlines’ New York service, which takes around 17-and-a-half hours to cover 15,349 kilometers.
A Cathay Pacific spokeswoman said the company could use an Airbus SE A350-1000 to fly this route, which normally crosses over the Arctic and through Russian airspace.
Due to the Ukraine conflict, many Asian airlines are avoiding Russia.
The spokeswoman said they are always running contingency plans for potential events or scenarios. During this time of year, the Transatlantic option takes advantage of strong seasonal tailwinds to decrease flight times to between 16 and 17 hours, making it more advantageous than the Transpacific route.
Flights Reduced by Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific officials said they monitor tailwinds every day, and their benefits are decreasing. The winter months usually experience stronger jet streams.
Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific has applied for overflight permits for the brand-new route. It operated up to three round trips from Hong Kong to JFK every day before the pandemic, which has greatly reduced its schedule.
Cathay Pacific’s latest flight from New York to Hong Kong stopped in Los Angeles before continuing on to the Asian financial hub without entering Russian airspace.
With the proposed, extended route, there wouldn’t be a need for a stopover in Los Angeles, making it more economical and competitive.
Airlines Avoiding Russian Airspace
Russia has been omitted from several routes, mostly those linking Asia and Europe. As an alternative to flying over Siberia, Japan Airlines rerouted its service from Tokyo to London via Alaska and Canada. As a result, the 11-hour 55-minute journey took four-and-a-half hours longer.
As a result of high oil prices and uncertainty regarding Russian airspace, flight changes are likely to be temporary.
The launch of Qantas Airways’ 20-hour flights connecting Sydney with London and New York using an ultra-long-range Airbus widebody jet is still on track despite the pandemic delay.
In 2019, the airline tested the Project Sunrise service from New York to Sydney with 40 passengers.
Qantas announced a Melbourne-Dallas route on Monday, while Air New Zealand announced an ultra-long service from Auckland to New York JFK last week. Both of these routes are set to begin later this year.
Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways flights to Auckland were among the longest in the world until they were suspended due to Covid-19.