With the November cancellation of a Singapore Airlines flight to Newark, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. can now lay claim to one of the world’s longest nonstop flights.
According to the Sydney-based Centre for Aviation, Delta’s flight from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta to O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg lasts 16 hours and 55 minutes and covers about 8,400 nautical miles, or 9,667 miles.
The South Africa flight shares the distinction with flights from Dubai to Houston and Los Angeles. Both of those also last more than 16 hours.
“The Atlanta-to-Johannesburg flight marks not only our longest flight, but also one of our strongest demand between markets,” said Anthony Black, a Delta spokesman, who also told Global Atlanta that flights were full this week as South Africa held ceremonies honoring the late President Nelson Mandela, who died Dec. 5.
The previous title holder – a flight from Singapore Changi Airport to Newark International Airport in the New York City metro area – lasted about 18.5 hours and covered more than 9,500 miles.
The plans to discontinue the flights were originally announced during December 2012 as Singapore Airlines reconfigured its priorities in Asia.
Delta routes of similar length will only be considered based on demand, Mr. Black said.
“Routes are planned based on market demand and profitability, so all factors are considered before announcing new markets,” he said.
Delta briefly operated a nonstop flight between Atlanta and Mumbai, India, in 2008, which was more than 16 hours there and 18 hours back. It was suspended after less than a year.