World's longest domestic flight

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The flight path between Papeete and Paris.[1]

The current world's longest domestic passenger flight as of 2020 occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The flight, operated by Air Tahiti Nui, was between Papeete in French Polynesia and Paris in Metropolitan France, traversing a distance of approximately 15,700 kilometres (9,800 mi; 8,500 nmi) and taking approximately 16 hours, 20 minutes.[2] It is considered a domestic flight as French Polynesia forms an integral part of the French Republic.

Background[edit]

"Tetiaroa" (registered as F-OTOA), the Boeing 787-9 that operated Air Tahiti Nui's respective flight in March 2020.
F-HREY, the Airbus A350-900 that operated French Bee's respective flight in May 2020.

The world's longest domestic flight has been operated both by Air Tahiti Nui (longest commercial passenger flight) and French Bee (longest commercial cargo flight); French airlines based in French Polynesia and Metropolitan France respectively. The flight operated between Tahiti's Faa'a International Airport near Papeete to both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports serving Paris, with great-circle distances of 15,715 kilometres (9,765 mi; 8,485 nmi) to Charles de Gaulle and 15,728 kilometres (9,773 mi; 8,492 nmi) to Orly, taking approximately 16 to 17 hours. Air Tahiti Nui began the route on 15 March 2020, departing Faa'a International Airport at 3:14 am local time as flight TN64, flying nonstop to Charles de Gaulle Airport, and landing at 6:00 am local time on 16 March, taking 15 hours and 46 minutes.[3] The Boeing 787-9 operating the flight (registered F-OTOA)[4] was only partially filled with passengers.[5] TN64 continued to operate in April and its final flight was April 19, 2020.[6][2]

French Bee operated its own nonstop flight, without passengers, from Tahiti to Paris on 14 May 2020, departing Faa'a International Airport at 10:51 am local time, then landing at Orly Airport at 3:40 pm local time on 15 May, taking 16 hours and 49 minutes.[7] This commercial flight was not able to carry passengers in part as Orly Airport was closed to all commercial passenger traffic from March to June 2020.[8] The airline further claimed its Airbus A350-900 operating the flight (registered F-HREY) flew a ground distance of 16,129 kilometres (10,022 mi; 8,709 nmi), thus surpassing the distance of Air Tahiti Nui's flight.[9] It is considered a domestic flight as French Polynesia forms an integral part of the French Republic.[10]

Both French airlines developed this now non-stop route as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent restrictions imposed by the United States over international flights, starting on 11 March 2020.[1][11] Before the pandemic, the flight between Papeete and Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris was operated by Air Tahiti Nui as well as Air France with an intermediate stop at Los Angeles International Airport, while the flight between Papeete and Orly Airport in Paris was operated by French Bee with an intermediate stop at San Francisco International Airport.[12][13] The airlines serving these routes also held traffic rights to transport passengers between either Paris or Papeete and the intermediate stop. Both the Boeing 787-9 used by Air Tahiti Nui and the Airbus A350-900 used by French Bee were claimed by their respective airlines to have greater fuel and energy efficiency compared to other similar or older long-haul widebody aircraft, while flying with a smaller payload to be able to achieve the long distance without stopping for additional fuel.[9][14]

Both French airlines as well as Air France have also pursued other stopping points to cover the long distance between French Polynesia and Metropolitan France, including stopping at Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport in the French overseas territory of Guadeloupe,[15] as well as stopping at Vancouver International Airport in the Canadian province of British Columbia.[16] However, unlike the intermediate stops in the United States prior to the pandemic, the stop in Vancouver was solely for transit, as none of the airlines could discharge or take on additional passengers at the intermediate stop.[17][18] Prior to this record, the record for the longest commercial flight by great-circle distance was held by Singapore Airlines, when the airline flew their Singapore to Newark route at a distance of 15,343 kilometres (9,534 mi; 8,285 nmi).[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Li, Neo (15 March 2020). "Air Tahiti Nui operate world longest domestic flight". Sam Chui Aviation & Travel. Archived from the original on 29 September 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b "TN64 Flight Status / Air Tahiti Nui THT64 / TN 64 Flight Tracker". airportinfo.live. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Air Tahiti Nui - New Record For World's Longest Flight - Tahiti to Paris - WORKING" (Press release). Air Tahiti Nui. 19 March 2020. Archived from the original on 20 May 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  4. ^ Flightradar24 [@Flightradar24] (15 March 2020). "Because of COVID-19 flight restrictions, Air Tahiti Nui is operating its service to Paris non-stop from Papeete—without its normal stop at LAX. The flight is longer than SIN-EWR and at 15,715 km it is also the longest domestic flight in the world. flightradar24.com/THT64/24310bc8" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 8 April 2020. Retrieved 23 July 2020 – via Twitter.
  5. ^ Bailey, Joanna (16 March 2020). "Air Tahiti Nui flies the World's Longest Domestic Flight at 16 Hours!". Simple Flying. Archived from the original on 6 April 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Air Tahiti Nui Will Fly Another Nonstop Papeete To Paris Flight". Simple Flying. 12 April 2020. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  7. ^ Field, James (17 May 2020). "French bee beats Air Tahiti Nui for longest domestic flight record". Airways Magazine. Airways International, Inc. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  8. ^ "#ReunitingSoon:Paris-Orly airport marks a pause". Archived from the original on 25 April 2020. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  9. ^ a b "World record for the longest flight beaten by French bee between two French airports: 16,129 kilometers between Tahiti-Faa'a and Paris-Orly" (PDF) (Press release). French bee. 15 May 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  10. ^ Denman, Selina (16 March 2020). "Air Tahiti Nui has operated the world's longest flight and it's technically domestic". The National. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Air Tahiti Nui breaks record for World's Longest Passenger Flight due to Covid-19". Travel Weekly. The Misfits Media Company. 24 March 2020. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  12. ^ "Because of coronavirus, the world's longest-ever passenger flight". The Mercury News. San Jose, CA: MediaNews Group, Inc. 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  13. ^ Liu, Jim (12 February 2018). "French Bee opens San Francisco reservation from May 2018". Routesonline. Informa Markets. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  14. ^ Street, Francesca (17 March 2020). "Virus creates world's longest passenger flight". CNN Travel. Cable News Network. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  15. ^ "Coronavirus COVID-19: Flight Schedule Update" (Press release). Air Tahiti Nui. 23 March 2020. Archived from the original on 23 July 2020. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  16. ^ Liu, Jim (15 June 2020). "Air Tahiti Nui July 2020 Paris CDG routing adjustment". Routesonline. Informa Markets. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  17. ^ Singh, Chhavianshika (18 March 2020). "Coronavirus Helps Air Tahiti Nui Set New Record for World's Longest Flight". CNN-News18. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Information for travelers" (Press release). French bee. 15 July 2020. Archived from the original on 20 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  19. ^ Schlappig, Ben (14 March 2020). "Air Tahiti Nui operating World's Longest Commercial Flight". One Mile at a Time. PointsPros, Inc. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.