DXBATL flying time is less than BOMJFK by an hour and a half. Even though temps in DXB
can be hot well into the night, BOM
isn’t exactly a “cool”city so performance restrictions are probably just as possible from BOM
Given that DL
is pursuing a China route, the question of where the 1st LRs end up will probably be answered by which Chinese city DL
serves and how much cargo they expect out of China, BOM
, and DXB
. The ER
can fly any of these routes without passenger restrictions. ATL
has the advantage of being inland so you can plan the fuel loads to be a little on the “riskier” side knowing you can stop for fuel somewhere along the way if winds are too strong. Westbound to Asia means you fly over Japan which has plenty of “filling stations.” BOMJFK is a little harder since it is the longest flight DL
will be operating and there aren’t a whole lot of places to stop.
The advantage for these flights from the Middle East and India is that they arrive early in the morning when delays are much less likely and straight in approaches are pretty certain. It also means that if you expect to divert, you’ll need operations people and fuelers on standby at every possible diversion point – which could be the middle of the night in Bangor, Boston, or St. Johns.
As has been pointed out several times, DL
increased the MTOW on its 777ERs by 8K lbs just a few weeks ago which added about 30 minutes of flying time to the airplanes.
The first LRs will obviously go to backfill one of these routes or open the new China route (which DL
stands a good chance of winning), although DL
could choose to rotate the 2 LRs between 2 routes so that there is cargo capability every other or third day. While rumors have persisted about the LR
being used to fly to S. Africa, DL
will have to acquire more 777s if they want to fly to S. Africa w/ the LR
and grow to China.
will do fine on these routes but won’t have a lot of wiggle room. We’ll know in about 2 months if the ER
can make BOMJFK consistently without fuel stops. I expect if BOMJFK can happen, any of the other routes on the near-term drawing board should be do-able.