Cathay Pacific is planning the world’s longest passenger flight by rerouting its New York to Hong Kong service via the Atlantic instead of the Pacific, the airline said, in a new route that avoids Russia.
The flight path will cover “just under 9,000 nautical miles” (16,668 km or 10,357 miles) in 16 to 17 hours, Cathay said in a statement to Agence France-Presse.
On Tuesday evening, Cathay listed a New York-Hong Kong flight on its website for April 3 – a nonstop trip that it said would stay in the air for 17 hours and 50 minutes.
It will outperform a Singapore Airlines flight traveling from the Southeast Asian city-state to New York, which covers a shorter distance in a longer time – around 15,343 km (9,534 miles) in 18 hours.
Cathay declined to be drawn to why her flight path left much of Russian airspace, which she has flown through before, according to Bloomberg.
Many airlines have canceled routes to Russian cities or are avoiding its airspace following Moscow’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine last month.
Russia also closed its skies last month to several European countries and all UK-linked flights in a tit-for-tat response to a similar ban imposed on them.
Cathay is seeking an overflight permit for the trip that will cross the Atlantic, Europe and Central Asia.
“We are always arranging contingency routes for potential events or scenarios in the aviation world,” Hong Kong’s flagship carrier said on Tuesday.
The transatlantic option is more favorable than their usual Pacific route due to “strong seasonal tailwinds at this time of year,” he said.
Before the pandemic, Cathay made three round trips between the two cities every day.
Flights to Hong Kong are now facing frequent cancellations due to the financial hub’s strict anti-Covid measures, as well as a lack of passengers.
From April 1, flights from the United States and eight other countries will once again be allowed to land in Hong Kong, as the government eases some of the world’s toughest Covid-19 restrictions.