Low-cost airline Norwegian has set a new record time for the fastest ever transatlantic flight by a subsonic passenger aircraft this week using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (reg. G-CKHL).
Norwegian flight #DY7014 from New York JFK to London Gatwick LGW completed the full duration of the flight in 5 hours and 13 minutes on Monday 15 January 2018.
This was the fastest transatlantic flight recorded on a subsonic commercial aircraft.
- Take off 16:44 UTC
- Landing 21:57 UTC (RB24 data show a touch down at 21:55 UTC)
- Duration 5h13 mins
- Aircraft Boeing 787-9 registration G-CKHL
The flight carrying 284 passengers arrived at London Gatwick shaving 53 minutes off the expected flight duration.
Strong tailwinds over the Atlantic Ocean reached a maximum of 176 knots (202mph-326 km/h). The tailwinds pushed the aircraft to a top speed of 674 knots (776mph-1,248 km/h) during the flight.
Data from radarbox24.com shows the aircraft speed reached 620 knots (713 mph-1,148 km/h) before it entered the oceanic flight stage.
The previous record was 5 minutes longer, a British Airways Boeing 777 in January 2015.
In a statement, Captain Harold van Dam at Norwegian said: “The 787 Dreamliner is a pleasure to fly and it’s a great feeling to know that we have set a new record in this aircraft. We were actually in the air for just over five hours and if it had not been for forecasted turbulence at lower altitude, we could have flown even faster.”
Norwegian operates double daily flights between London and New York using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. In 2018, Norwegian will take delivery of 11 brand new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.
Why was it not supersonic?
Despite the speed achieved being more than the speed of sound (340 m/s at 20°C), the flight didn’t actually go supersonic because the plane was travelling in a body of air that was already fast-moving, which increased the velocity needed to break the sound barrier. Airspeed was at Mach 0.85, below Mach 1.0 needed to go supersonic and break the sound barrier.
First jet aircraft transatlantic passenger service
On 4 October 1958, British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) flew the first passenger jet service in history from London to New York but with a stopover at Gander.
Fastest transatlantic flight
The fastest ever transatlantic crossing by a passenger plane was on 7 February 1996, when a British Airways Concorde flight from New York to London took just 2h 52mins 59s hitting a top speed of 1,173 knots (1,350mph-2,172 km/h).