Boeing sets new flight record

A Boeing jet has arrived in London from Hong Kong, breaking the record for the longest nonstop flight by a commercial aircraft.

    The jet lands at Heathrow after its record-breaking flight

    The US air giant undertook the challenge to showcase its new 777-200LR Worldliner. Boeing says the aircraft will change the future of air travel. 

    "With the 777-200LR, we are changing the world," Boeing's Lars Andersen said after the 18,662 km flight.

    "Passengers can fly commercially between just about any two cities nonstop."

    After 22 hours and 43 minutes in the air the jet touched down shortly after 1pm at London's Heathrow Airport.

    Boeing spokesman Chuck Cadena said that after leaving Hong Kong, the jet flew over the northern Pacific Ocean, crossing North America and cruising over the Atlantic Ocean to London.

    Hong Kong-London flights usually take the shorter route over Russia, a travelling time normally of about 12 hours.

    Record breaker
    A representative of Guinness World Records, which monitored the flight, presented Andersen with a certificate confirming it was for the longest nonstop commercial flight.

    Captain Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann, at the controls when the plane left Hong Kong, said the trip east across the Pacific had been bumpy.

    Air analysts have doubts about
    the demand for non-stop flights 

    "But we had a great ride across the United States ... and across the Atlantic we saw our second sunrise of the trip," she said.

    The previous record was set when a Boeing 747-400 flew 17,039 km from London to Sydney in 1989.

    The plane had four pilots and was carrying 35 passengers and crew, including Boeing representatives, journalists and customers.

    The record-breaking attempt is part of Boeing's fierce competition with its European rival Airbus.

    The Boeing 777-200LR Worldliner is designed to compete directly with the popular Airbus 340-500, which has a flight range of 16,700 km.

    Long-haul doubts

    Air experts hailed the ground-breaking flight but disagreed about whether passengers wanted to fly that long without a break. 
    "If Boeing is able to produce a flight from London to Sydney nonstop, there's no doubt that people (will) want to go direct," said Martin Craigs, president of Aerospace Forum Asia, which hosts conferences and forums for the aviation industry.
    "The public wants to travel more, and the industry and governments have to provide that because it is essential (for) the global economy."
    Craigs said planes like the Worldliner would generate cost savings with less fuel used, which would also benefit the environment.
    But Jim Eckes, managing director of Indoswiss Aviation Consultancy, said that travellers had a flying limit.
    "The big problem is whether the passengers want to stay on the airplane for so long," he said. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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