Cathay Pacific is planning the world's longest passenger flight by rerouting its New York-Hong Kong service to avoid Russian airspace, report says

Cathay Pacific is planning the world's longest passenger flight by rerouting its New York-Hong Kong service to avoid Russian airspace, report says
Cathay Pacific plans to create the world's longest passenger flight, according to a report.JIMMOYHT/Shutterstock
  • Cathay Pacific plans to reroute its New York-Hong Kong service to avoid Russia, Bloomberg reported.
  • The rerouted service would be the world's longest passenger flight by distance.

Cathay Pacific is plotting a course for the world's longest passenger flight under plans to reroute its non-stop New York-Hong Kong service to avoid Russian airspace, Bloomberg reported, citing an internal company memo.

The new route would cover 10,326 miles, significantly more than Singapore Airlines' New York JFK-Singapore service, which is currently the world's longest by distance, according to an analysis by Bloomberg.

The rerouted Cathay Pacific service would, if implemented, last up to 17 hours, meaning flying time would be shorter than the Singapore Airlines service, which takes an additional half-hour to cover its roughly 9,537 miles, Bloomberg said.

Instead of crossing the Arctic and central Russia, Cathay Pacific's rerouted flight would leave from John F. Kennedy International Airport and cross the Atlantic, the UK, and Southern Europe before cruising over central Asia to reach Hong Kong, the internal memo showed, per Bloomberg.

A spokesperson for Cathay Pacific said: "The transatlantic option for New York JFK to Hong Kong is just under 9,000 nautical miles (10,357 miles). Our Airbus A350-1000 aircraft can comfortably accomplish this in 16 to 17 hours with similar fuel consumption to the transpacific flights."


The spokesperson continued: "We are always running contingency routings for potential events or scenarios within the world of aviation. We compare flight routes daily, and will plan and fly what is the most efficient routing on the day. The transatlantic option relies on the facilitation of strong seasonal tailwinds at this time of the year in order for the flight time to be between 16 and 17 hours, thereby making it more favourable than the transpacific route."

The Cathay Pacific spokesperson didn't comment on the internal company memo cited by Bloomberg. Insider wasn't able to verify the authenticity of the memo.

After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Western nations imposed a swathe of sanctions on Russia. The European Union closed its airspace to "any plane owned, chartered or otherwise controlled by a Russian legal or natural person," which prompted Russia to respond in kind.

Several airlines have already rerouted flights to avoid closed Russian airspace. Several have redirected flights across Europe to avoid Russia.

On March 9, Finnair ran a flight between Helsinki and Tokyo by using airspace over the Arctic to dodge Russia, adding nearly four hours to the nine-hour trip, Insider's Taylor Rains previously reported.


A Japan Airlines Tokyo-to-London service averaged 12 hours 12 minutes in the month before the invasion, but a March 4 flight took more than 14 hours, according to data rom FlightRadar 24.