I did this Bahrain Dahran route once (737, not 747) when connecting into Saudi with Gulf Air (pre causeway). After boarding the plane, we sat at the gate while they served the "in flight " meal, then they closed the doors started the engines and off we went. Time in the air can't have been much over 10 mins if that. Then the fun started with Dahran immigration (2 hrs standing in a queue on the tarmac (fotunately nighttime) before even making it into the terminal building, all in I guess 4 hrs to clear immigration & customs).
After the causeway opened we used to check in at a Dhahran hotel and get bussed over the causeway by British Caledonian to meet their Far East DC10 (full of the living dead on thier way back from Australia).
PIA used to regularly fly 747 between Islamabad and Karachi (I remember havig to wait two days for my suitcase cause they couldn't open the baggage door in Islamabad so had to fly back to Karachi with it). Absolute dog of a 747, overheads held together with duct tape etc.
Albeit not a scheduled service per se, but during last year we used to position our B744ERFs from SZX-HKG (ZGSZ-VHHH, Great Circle distance 24NM).
I personally flew a few of those, the longest one at around lunch time, launched off Rwy 33, speed control and vectors the long way around for the ILS 25R, that took a while, 00:27 air time and 00:55 block time.
The shortest one, middle of the night, airborne off Rwy 15, an immediate right turn to 'SIERA' (IAF) courtesy of Zhuhai App and before even reaching 'SIERA', vectors for ILS 07R, no speed! That took all of 17 minutes in the air and 35 block time!! Certainly not a record, but close enough and a lot of fun!! Even kept an ACARS printout for my logbook and posterity!!
Also freighters can do some pretty short sectors (still scheduled). I frequently used to fly Manchester to Amsterdam and Hong Kong to Xiamen on schedules in a 747 classic freighter. Both around the 300 mile mark.
Last edited by Dan Winterland; 1st Aug 2012 at 04:30.
The best time I did from DHA to BAH was 6 min and 15 sec from wheels up to touchdown. Favorable winds, no doubt. Flew this sector with Gulf many times, in a 737. Still perhaps the shortest international flight on record.
To me there is a difference between.... operating an aircraft that is in your operations specifications and governed by the companies rules and regulations, and having another airline operate an aircraft for you
In the same way, I would say that Saudia didnt operate MD-11's in passenger configurations nor B757/B767's or even B727's or even C130's