MIAMI- Today in Aviation, Aerolineas Argentinas (AR) inaugurated the world’s longest non-stop route. On August 7, 1967, the airline completed its first direct Buenos Aires-Madrid flight.
The Boeing 707 operated the route until 1976 when the Boeing 747SP, also known as the Jumbo, entered service. Spanish carrier Iberia (IB) supported the financing of the 707 to start the frequency.
At the time, the flight set a worldwide record, lasting 11 hours and 31 minutes and covering 10,062 km (5,433 nmi).
Route Launched Alongside Iberia
As IB was seeking to expand its operations in Latin America during 1960s, it cooperated with AR to increase air traffic. The strategy then included the aircraft financing and further relations between both companies, according to IB’s files.
Thus, the Spanish airline bought two Boeing 707 and leased them to AR. As a result, AR launched a new service between EZE and MAD in 1967.
Following the new contract commitments, AR operated six weekly flights with the Boeing aircraft. On its part, IB flew the route four times per week with the DC-8-63 airliner.
During the decade, the leasing/joint-venture benefited more the Spanish-based carrier.
Apart from this, in 1973, the Boeing 707 model reached another milestone for AR. The airline inaugurated the Buenos Aires-Miami route with the type.
The Addition of The Boeing 747
Despite its good performance, the Boeing 707 was replaced in the mid-1970s. By that time, Boeing was developing a new aircraft: the 747SP.
As a consequence of an Argentinian economic crisis and certain contractual disagreements, AR and IB ended their partnership in 1973.
Soon after, the Latin American airline bought the Boeing 747SP aircraft, replacing the 707 in 1976. Until that year, the EZE-MAD route was the carrier’s longest flight.
With the Boeing 747SP, AR became the only operator of the widebody airliner. Four years later, AR was the first commercial airline in accomplishing a transpolar flight.
Today, frequencies between Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) and Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) last about 11 hours and 55 minutes.
Today’s Top 10 Longest Routes
According to Insider, these are the world’s longest operative non-stop routes:
- Singapore Airlines (SQ) flies 9,534 miles from Singapore to New Jersey in 18 hours and 30 minutes. Currently, this is the longest flight in the world.
- SQ also operates a flight from Singapore to Los Angeles which covers 8,770 miles and lasts 17 hours and 50 minutes. In same time, Qatar Airways (QR) flies 9,032 miles from Auckland, New Zealand, to Doha, Qatar.
- United Airlines’ (UA) flight from Texas to Sydney. It covers 8,596 miles in 17 hours and 30 minutes.
- Qantas (QF) flies 9,009 miles from Perth, Australia, to London in 17 hours and 25 minutes.
- QF also operates a frequency from Texas to Sydney that covers 8,578 miles in 17 hours and 10 minutes. In same time, Emirates’ (EK) flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to Dubai covers 8,820 miles.
- Delta’s (DL) flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa. It is about 8,434 miles and lasts 16 hours and 50 minutes.
- Philippine Airlines (PR) flies 8,520 miles between Manila and New York in 16 hours and 35 minutes.
- EK’s frequency from Dubai to Los Angeles. It is about 8,324 miles and lasts 16 hours and 17 minutes.
Featured image: Aerolineas Argentinas Boeing 707-300B. Photo: Steve Fitzgerald.