LONDON – As the crisis between Russia and Ukraine has intensified over the past few weeks, airlines around the globe are being forced to redesign their flight path while overflying Russian airspace to avoid any risk factors.
Cathay Pacific will be one of the airlines which will be forced to operate and reroute its service between Hong Kong and New York thus embarking on one of the world’s longest passenger flight operations.
10,300 Miles Is A Long Way…
The newly planned JFK-HKG route will cover over 10,300 miles clocking over 17 hours of flight time, significantly higher than that of the Singapore-JFK service, which holds the title of longest flight by distance with 9,537 miles.
The new re-routed service will operate transatlantic flights, instead of regular polar operations involving the Arctic and central Russian airspace operations. The flight will depart New York JFK and will cross the Atlantic, the UK, and southern Europe before cruising over central Asia and reaching its destination in Hong Kong, suggested the internal memo from Cathey.
Speaking on this new re-routed flight, a Cathay Pacific spokesperson stated, “The transatlantic option for New York JFK to Hong Kong is just under 9,000 nautical miles (10,357 miles).
“Our Airbus A350-1000 aircraft can comfortably accomplish this in 16 to 17 hours with similar fuel consumption to the transpacific flights.”
The spokesperson further elaborated, “We are always running contingency routings for potential events or scenarios within the world of aviation. We compare flight routes daily and will plan and fly what is the most efficient routing on the day.”
“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.”
The New Norm…
These changes had to be adopted by the airlines as the European Union decided to close the airspace to planes owned, chartered, or otherwise controlled by the Russian legal natural person, thus prompting Russia to respond in kind by closing its airspace.
Many airlines, especially those operating from Eastern Asia to European hubs and beyond to the US have been facing challenges in flight planning due to heavy constraints and safety issues arose by the ongoing Russo-Ukraine crisis.
Finnair has recently operated a flight between Helsinki and Tokyo using the Arctic route to avoid Russian Airspace thus adding more than four hours to the usual nine-hour flight.
Similarly, Japan Airlines flight from Tokyo to London Heathrow has clocked 14 hours of flight time as compared to that of 12 hours in the pre-Russo-Ukraine crisis era.
It is key to note that this hasn’t been set in stone as of yet, but will be interesting to see what happens moving forward.