Long-range Jets

Wed Jun 23, 1999 11:42 am

There's been alot of debate in various threads about long range flights and which equipment to use. Basically I am just wondering what major passenger jet has the longest fully loaded (or otherwise) range ?

I was always under the impression that it was something out of the 747 lineup- first the cut down SP Quantas built for nonstop SYD-LAX, then the -400 once Boeing built it. All super long range flights I know of, like Frankfurt-LAX, ORD-Taipei, and Aukland-LAX are operated by -400's.

But now I am seeing people contending that the A340 could outrange the 747-400. Is this true? And what about the 777, which is the A340's most direct competitor? I don't know the answer, so I don't want to guess. I'm sure you all have your own strong opinions, so help me out!
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RE: Long-range Jets

Wed Jun 23, 1999 2:59 pm

First, the numbers, from the manufacturers' respective websites. These are the maximum ranges with typical passenger loads: 747-400 13,480 km 777-200IGW 14,250 km A330-200 12,000 km A340-200 14,800 km A340-300 13,500 km A340-500 (not yet built) 15,750 km By definition, the A340-200 is the longest plane in the skies today, followed closely by the 777. Once the new A340 comes out it'll be the longest by far. However, range is one of those factors where the importance is relative to the goal. Currently the longest flight in the world is United's Chicago-Hong Kong service. By the great circle, the range between those two cities is 12,550 km. The actual fight distance is even longer than that, though I don't have the exact figure. Even on the 747, the fastest of all those planes, it's a 16 hour flight. Flights much longer than that push the limits of comfort. Even though the 777 and Airbus can fly longer, no airlines have tried to fly them to their maximum potential. The A340 came out in 1993 and the 777 in 1995. So it seems that range above about 13,000 km doesn't mean much to the airlines. Based on the fact that it's currently on the world's longest route, I consider the 747 the longest. Although the other planes CAN fly farther, they aren't actually doing so.
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RE: Long-range Jets

Wed Jun 23, 1999 3:39 pm

The longest flight by a Boeing 777-200IGW is by Malasyia Airlines. They fly the aircraft from Dubai non-stop to Newark.

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RE: Long-range Jets

Wed Jun 23, 1999 4:06 pm

Actually, the world's longest flight is from New York to Johannesburg, S.A. From what I have heard, UA's ORD-HKG flight also beats out Dubai-EWR flown by MAS by a few hundred miles, and UA's ORD-HKG flight is the world's longest non-stop flight in BOTH DIRECTIONS. In Boeing publications that I have, they always acknowledge that the Airbus A340-200 has the longest range so far, followed by the B747-400, the 777-200IGW, and THEN the A340-300. As far as making the most money off of a plane (on routes where you can't operate a full load) I think that the 747-400 would win, even though the A340-200 could make trips (such as LAX-MEL) with an actual full load. On the 747-400, you have to deny boarding to about 75 people (only Economy Class) because of load restrictions, wheres an A340-200 denies boarding to no one because it is capable of making that trip full load. So, a 747-400 with 375 people dumps of 75...which equals to a 'full load' of 300 on the 747, vs a true full load (every seat) on the A340 is filled to about 240...


(if I confused you...I'm really sorry!!)
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RE: Long-range Jets

Wed Jun 23, 1999 10:55 pm

I don't agree with FLY777UAL on the point that airlines have to "denying" boarding for 75 passengers in order for the 747-400 to reach its maximum range. The airlines don't sell 375 tickets and only allow 300 to board. It uses a plane that has 300 seats and only sell 300 tickets.

Also, who says that a "full load" 747-400 has to have 375 seats while a "full load" A340-300 has to have 240 seat. It's up to the airlines to decide how many seats they put on an airplane. And as long as these seats are filled, it has a 100% load factor for this flight. And we haven't considered cargo yet.
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RE: Long-range Jets

Thu Jun 24, 1999 12:48 am

Don't forget the flights are only limited in one direction. For example, LAX-SYD is a longer flight because of head winds, but the plane can almost always be full on the SYD-LAX route. Yes, it is true that if you travel to Sydney you must come home to. But it gives the passengers more options.

Lastly, fleet standards play into this. If United, for example, flies 747, they are not going to buy a handful of A340 for just a particular route.
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RE: Long-range Jets

Thu Jun 24, 1999 4:34 am

OK, I think what Gattboy was asking was for max payload range which none of the manufacturer's websites publish.
You're max payload range is the distance you can fly if you were to fill the aircraft with cargo of any kind up to its maximum zero fuel weight. Fill the rest with fuel up to the maximum takeoff weight. You wouldn't be able to top off neither the 744 nor the A342, but I bet the 744 will have a higher max payload range.
it doesn't matter if the plane has 300 or 375 or maybe 1 seat with a 50000 pound guy sitting in it. what is mentioned above is the max payload range.
Using a little guesswork and a calculator you can calculate which one of these 2 planes have the longest max payload range.

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Thu Jun 24, 1999 4:49 am

Sorry I mislead you...I wasn't talking about actually denying boarding to 75 people...just taking the seats off of the computer for sale. As for the 375 seats on a plane, that is just an average on what the airlines fly to the South Pacific, judging by UA, QF, and AZ, and as to the 240 seats on the A340-200 (the only one that can make it non-stop with an actual full load) that is also an average on what the airlines operate that plane's capacity to.


2 Different Types Of 340-200

Thu Jun 24, 1999 5:12 am

I think you guys are forgetting something though. The original 340-200 had less range than the 340-300 (7200 miles vs. 7500 miles). The longer range version called the 340-8000 (with a range of 8000 miles as the name indicates) replaced the 340-200 because basically it had the same body. Only one was sold for private use and is grounded because the company which ordered did not take delivery of it.....I think with 500 miles less range but 10-15% more passanger capacity of the 340-300 seems a more viable business proposition for airlines...(both AF and LH are actually leasing or selling their -200 to smaller airlines and replacing them by -300s)

So when we talk about actual ranges flown we should not take the -200 into consideration since it does not have a commercial application!!! :-)
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Thu Jun 24, 1999 11:46 pm

Don't forget about the MD-11ER! According to my figures, it has a range of 7240nm, compared with the B747-400's 7284nm. Pretty close.

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