View Full Version : Shortest B747 scheduled route?

Espada III
22nd Sep 2011, 12:32
Following on from the BA 747 thread, I have been told by a travel agent friend that the Lufthansa FRA-TLV (Tel Aviv) route is their most profitable.

The reasons are that they fly a B747-400 and a A340-600 fly each day seven days a week. My experience of these flights is that they are pretty full all year round.

So is this the shortest scheduled large wide body route (about 1800 miles I think)? Or are there shorter routes - and would they be more profitable?

22nd Sep 2011, 13:27
Not sure if they still fly 747s internally in Japan. Certainly used to - Okinawa/Tokyo - distance of under 1000 miles.

22nd Sep 2011, 13:34
BCal/Sabena used to have a joint 747 service Brussels-Gatwick-Atlanta. I've flown the BRU-LGW leg. There must be shorter than that, though. I seriously doubt it was profitable.

Purely from a fuel cost point of view, a 747 would be optimised for a distance of about 5500km. Longer than that fuel burn per km rises very slightly due to ‘burning fuel to carry fuel’. Shorter than that, unit fuel burn increases strongly with decreasing sector length. But revenue yields are almost certainly going to affect the economics more than unit costs.

Skipness One Echo
22nd Sep 2011, 13:53
Highland Express had Prestwick to Birmingham on G-HIHO back in 1987.

22nd Sep 2011, 13:55
Philippine Airlines use the 747-400 and A340 on it's Manila - Cebu domestic route (305 nautical miles). PR 849, PR 853.

Cathay use the 747 daily on the Hong Kong - Manila route, 600nm. I'm sure there are other instances of the 747 on shorthaul routes in Asia and the Middle East.

22nd Sep 2011, 14:04
Some Bangkok - Phuket flights on (I think) Thai were booked 747 last year when I was investigating options...

22nd Sep 2011, 15:17
I have flown BKK - HKT and vice versa in a 747-400 many times. It is 428 miles and takes about an hour and ten minutes.

22nd Sep 2011, 15:36
I went on Wardair Manchester to prestwick and the onwards to Toronto back in the eighties, not sure but the mileage Manchester to Prestwick cant be that far. Didnt they also do something like Leeds- Birmingham - Toronto?

22nd Sep 2011, 16:10
Philippines also use the 747 on Manila to Davao which is domestic. Not as short as the Cebu route though.

22nd Sep 2011, 17:16
How about Bahrain-Doha, about 70 nm straight line distance. BA124/125 operates this route as a through runner to and from LHR. Over recent years the route seems to have alternated between the 747 and 777. Right now its the 777, but looks like the 747 again next summer. BA used to have traffic rights between these points years ago but I have no idea if this is still the case.

22nd Sep 2011, 17:28
Difference between a run-on 'hop' sector, as opposed to the main (or only) sector. Returning from Mo Bay to LHR in the late 80s, our 742 (I think) hopped to Kingston and then home. The hop was about 12 minutes I think.

22nd Sep 2011, 17:51
Back in the mid 1990's Malaysian and Singapore Airways used to operate a shuttle service between KL and Singapore. Malaysian offered almost an hourly service using a 737 but the SQ service was less regular and would use a 747. The route is about 220 miles.

22nd Sep 2011, 18:22
JAL used to use (maybe still do) a 747 for a Tokyo to Osaka shuttle service.

22nd Sep 2011, 18:30
As I recall, radeng, due to the low level of baggage, they could use a super high density Y seating layout? I seem to recall 500 pax or more???

Hotel Tango
22nd Sep 2011, 18:51
I can recall my first B747 flight was Brussels-Amsterdam in 1971 with Pan Am. Also flew Amsterdam-LHR with Air India and Amsterdam-Copenhagen with Japan Air Lines.

Capt Chambo
22nd Sep 2011, 20:56
Korean Air are running a B744 between the Island of Jeju, and Gimpo. Using "Google Earth" that's a distance of approx. 244nm and is about 50 mins airborne.

JAL used to have a fleet of B747D (Domestic), they didn't have winglets, and had high density seating, and were used for internal flights in Japan. Some of those would have been quite short sectors.

Espada III
22nd Sep 2011, 21:29
These extremely short flights on B747s and A340s must put some additional stress on the airframe such that the planes run out of sectors before they run out of hours. Would that be right?

And if so, how would you reuse a B747 which might be only say 12 years old, but has carried out the same number of sectors as a 20 year old BA or Lufthansa B747?

22nd Sep 2011, 21:30
I've been on that flight and I believe the capacity of the 747SR was 523. And every seat was occupied on the flight I took. VERY high density and small seat pitch.

23rd Sep 2011, 02:31
Didn't Aer Lingus do Dublin-Shannon then onwards to JFK a few years back on a 747? Can't be much more than a 100 miles?

Thai Pom
23rd Sep 2011, 03:06
Thai Airways regulary use the 747 on domestic flights ( mainly Chiang Mai and Phuket ) duirng the big holidays.

23rd Sep 2011, 04:32
JAL had 747-100s for domestics and then 747-400s without winglets. As suggested this racked up the landings etc and at one time the plan was to add winglets and convert them for long haul at some point in their careers but I have no idea if it happened.

Load Toad
23rd Sep 2011, 06:30
I've flown Manila - Cebu on a 747, I'm sure I've flown KL - Singers on a 747 before now. Can't think of anything less than those two.

(I was really happy when we checked in at Manila for the flight to Cebu & the girl said not only was it a 747 but we'd been upgraded - straight past business class & in to first. Made up I was. Until I got on the oldest 747 I'd ever seen and the upholstery in First was like pigs had been using it and the over head bins etc were...in some distress...flew into Cebu like a drunken chicken on coke.)

23rd Sep 2011, 10:59
I agree Load Toad, Admittedly the A330 is a little better on the MNL-CEB route then the 747, but i'm always impressed at the full meal service that is managed in business on what is essentially 45 minutes in the air.

23rd Sep 2011, 11:10
Hi Guys,

I am continuing under the impression that those Japanese domestic B747s, as you said, didn't have winglets, but they also didn't have the capacity to carry centre tank fuel!

That's what I heard... :)

23rd Sep 2011, 11:19
IIRC Air Canada flies just about every aircraft it has ever owned (including the B747) on the Toronto - Montreal sector (Main maintenance base in YUL, main hub in YYZ). This sector is probably the heaviest domestic sector as well. 310 miles

Swissair (SR not LX) used to fly Geneva - Zurich with their B747s, DC10s and MD11s usually as tag-ends. LX does this occasionally. 143 miles.

And I believe SABENA used to fly between Kinshasa and Brazzaville with their B747s - 16 miles.

23rd Sep 2011, 16:32
Lufthansa occasionally runs domestic sectors with 747s, usually in september/october when the summer longhaul demand winds down and domestic demand is high. Frankfurt to berlin or to hamburg were the sectors last years.

25th Sep 2011, 11:56
I flew from Hong Kong to Bangkok with Thai Airways in May. Year round service with an old configuration B747. I think it's about 1000 miles - just long enough for a nice meal and a quick snooze. Those sleeper seats are more comfortable than you'd think!

25th Sep 2011, 15:01
SAA used to run domestic sectors with 747s when they operated them - but their domestic sectors were 1,000 miles JNB~CPT! My log book tells me that I did an 800 mile sector in a 743 from George (GRJ) to JNB in 2001 which took 75 minutes.

25th Sep 2011, 20:01
Singapore Airlines used to do call at AMS on their way from MAN to SIN. Couldn't have been more than 45mins. Couldn't for the life of me understand why as there was only ever a handfull of passengers getting on or off.

Once texted my mate to pick me up from MAN while on the ground in AMS only for the fog to come down and had to sit there for over two hours for it to clear.

25th Sep 2011, 20:13
robthebladeCouldn't for the life of me understand why as there was only ever a handfull of passengers getting on or off.Might have been a case of them wanting to keep the route 'use it or lose it' and then they might have found that they could not expand as they had hoped and stopped the stop?

25th Sep 2011, 20:25
Difference between a run-on 'hop' sector, as opposed to the main (or only) sector. Returning from Mo Bay to LHR in the late 80s, our 742 (I think) hopped to Kingston and then home. The hop was about 12 minutes I think.

I travelled on those legs a few times but I think the quickest was about 22 mins.

It was a case of "get on, belt up, shut up, sit still, your are not getting fed or watered and no movies"
Overall a very strange trip will all pax and crew just sitting there doing nothing.but great views from low altitude of "Cockpit country" , those odd shaped mountains en route which remains uncharted and impenetrable.

Pax Vobiscum
26th Sep 2011, 21:03
In 1987 I had a return LHR-CDG (186nm): outbound BA Tristar, inbound AF AB300. Had to go around at CDG due to the previous landing aircraft being slow to clear the runway (as explained by the Captain). 10 years later BA 767s were still frequently experienced on this route, and I heard that newly-delivered 777s were sometimes used (though I never saw this myself).

26th Sep 2011, 22:31
Once saw an Aer Lingus 747 land at Glsagow from Dublin on a Six Nations Rugby weekend. BA fly their 747's from LHR to Cardiff for maintenance and from LHR to LGW for positioning, both non-revenue of course,

26th Sep 2011, 22:46
beamender99I travelled on those legs a few times but I think the quickest was about 22 mins.
I sit corrected. I did not note the time at the time it was about 23 years ago! Unfortunately, our journey was at night and so we did not see the interior of Jamaica island. The only other point I recall is that the Cpt said, sue to high ambient temperatures, he would leave the gear down during the hop and so there would be a more more wind noise than usual. I thought that a little unusual but presumed that the turnaround at Montego Bay had been short (most pax were changing over at Kingston.

26th Sep 2011, 23:38
During the nineties SIA would use a B747-400 on SIN-KUL and return regularly on Fridays and Sundays and before and after public holidays.

27th Sep 2011, 04:36
CX operating B744 AMS - CDG v.v. 3 times per week to keep the CDG slot. About 40 mins. Finishes end Oct.

Lord Bracken
27th Sep 2011, 19:57
BA have traffic rights BAH-DOH with the 747/777. I believe the record is 19 minutes chock to chock. No inflight service to speak of, apart from a round of canapés and a bar service in First Class.

27th Sep 2011, 20:17

I believe the record is 19 minutes chock to chock

Standing by to be corrected but I'd be gobsmacked it that's "chock to chock"....I do however have reason to believe ;) it may be an achievable flight time........

Lord Bracken
27th Sep 2011, 20:55
Duff 'gen from my side then....!

27th Sep 2011, 21:04
wiggyStanding by to be corrected You're not allowed to stand on such short sectors.

Alright, I'll leave without a fight ... :ouch:

27th Sep 2011, 21:44
Delivery flight B744 - YXX - YVR about 8 minutes - max

You can google YXX

27th Sep 2011, 21:51

I raise your BA B747-400 DOH-BAH in 19 minutes with 17:57 from start of take off roll to touchdown (11 Aug 200x):ok:

Start of take off roll to airborne probably about 15 seconds:eek:

27th Sep 2011, 22:20

You win the 744 prize, TopBunk..

OK - I'll throw in a 20 min flight time on the DOH-BAH for the 777 contest ( I knew we shouldn't have spent time trying to log-in to CPDLC ...) :E:}.

BTW I guess we must know each other... :sad:

6th Oct 2011, 04:56
HND-Fukuoka and HND-CTS have a morning flight that's a 744, listed on the ANA site as 565 seats.

Flew a couple of years ago to Naha. I didn't notice the seat density being unusually high. But then again I was on the upper deck in Economy :p

Hotel Tango
6th Oct 2011, 09:50
Delivery flight B744 - YXX - YVR about 8 minutes - max

:= Does not constitute a scheduled flight as per the OP.

6th Oct 2011, 15:52
The 39 (statute) miles from Vancouver to Abbotsford is over double the 16 miles between FIH-BZV operated by SN some years ago. I think this wins the prize.

6th Oct 2011, 16:02
Not 747 but when I was working the Hajj in Saudi, Emirates were using A380's to fly JED-DXB-JED... max capacity.

Dan Winterland
7th Oct 2011, 01:03
Virgin have several inter islands flights in the Carribean. I can't remember how far they are but they're short. I did St Lucia - Barbados a few times and that's a lot less than an hour IIRC without having to dig the logbook out.

26th Oct 2011, 22:26
Last year, on 26 July, Newcastle Airport celebrated its 75th anniversary by getting carriers to operate different aircraft types. Emirates laid on a 777 and KLM used their 737 in retro livery. My son and I flew in on BA 744 G-CIVI on scheduled flight BA1326 from LHR. Flight time was 45 minutes.

On leaving LHR, an announcement was made at the gate that the flight would be on a 747 instead of the usual Airbus 319/320 - much to the surprise of most travellers. On board, several of the crew were of Geordie origin. Interestingly, pillows and blankets were provided (for a mid-morning departure!). The take-off run was short. The flight was certainly not full, but there was a decent A320-sized load of pax on board, plus a few extras like us who'd bought tickets especially for the 747 ride.

On arrival, the OneWorld-liveried aircraft parked up and the disembarking passengers were greeted by waiting airport dignitaries. (I learnt later that they weren't waiting for us, but to greet the Duke of Gloucester.)

That was definitely my shortest 747 flight, coming as it did a day after a LHR-CDG trip on an Air France A380 (which had been regularly scheduled throughout the summer on that route).

27th Oct 2011, 19:47
Tower Air used to fly KJFK/KMIA several times a day, packed to the gills, interestingly it was an ElAl feeder. A little more than a thousand miles.

2nd Nov 2011, 01:57
The SNN-DUB route was a great way for a cash-strapped teenager to experience some transatlantic glamour - I admit some of the best 45 minutes of my life were spent that way - 720s, 707s and 747s. Magical...especially if you had a tight connection in DUB...more often than not the transatlantic flight was late and you get a free re-route via Heathrow/Manchester/Birmingham/Newcastle... 747 followed by 2x Viscounts was not unknown!

One unforgettable day I hopped on a scheduled 707 (EI-AMW) DUB-BFS. I think I was the only pax onboard.

Years later...Kuala-Lumpur to Changi was pretty short in a 747...but no substitute for "stacking over Ennis"....!!

2nd Nov 2011, 12:47
Many moons ago BA used to fly as a scheduled route Dhahran - Bahrain. Very quick.

2nd Nov 2011, 21:14
I'm fairly sure I was on a BA (?)747 flight mid/late eighties that left LGW for somewhere in Florida (Orlando, Tampa?) and stopped in Manchester on the way....

2nd Nov 2011, 22:16
British Airways B744
Barbados to Antigua
Barbados to St.Lucia
Islamabad to Manchester to Gatwick

8th Nov 2011, 15:28
Virgin VS052 on Ladybird was 23 minutes last Thursday from Grenada to Tobago.

flying lid
8th Nov 2011, 16:55
1989 London Heathrow - Manchester - Los Angeles. Twice a week - Caledonian 747 (stoped outbound to refuel in Winnipeg)

Also Qantas used to fly its OZ to LHR 747's up to Manchester from London many moons ago.


9th Nov 2011, 05:45
Just wanted to compare the different routes mentioned here, if i've missed any please add them. Not sure how accurate the distances are, they are in statute miles rather then nautical.

Current Scheduled Routes

Previously Scheduled Routes


9th Nov 2011, 08:33

Perhaps after some of the black stuff :p , but if not approx 120 statute miles.


9th Nov 2011, 10:04
Many moons ago BA used to fly as a scheduled route Dhahran - Bahrain. Very quick.

I have the Dhahran-Bahrain sector in my logbook (1976). Unfortunately I only recorded the 'chock-to-chock' time, which was 25 minutes, so can't remember the flight time.

Another short sector was Montego Bay to Kingston. Only a short distance but longer flight time as you had to climb higher to get over the hills.


9th Nov 2011, 11:16
Don't forget this previous scheduled route:

FIH-BZV 16 Statue miles.

A good site for getting GCM distances (and to draw maps) is

Great Circle Mapper (http://www.gcmap.com/)

And DUB-SNN is 121 s/mi

9th Nov 2011, 15:48
Does the Dublin / Sannon count, hope so as tikets were sold as a Dublin Shannon sector......

did it several times..... felt rather odd...

9th Nov 2011, 16:03
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.

9th Nov 2011, 17:05
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!!

Al Fakhem
10th Nov 2011, 09:09
SQ used to fly FRA-ZRH and v.v.

Apart from that, I would think the Japanese domestic route HND-ITM with high-capacity seating would be the shortest scheduled services on record.

12th Nov 2011, 22:34
Previously Scheduled Routes

You can add MAN LHR 153 to that list. I flew this with Qantas in 1989.

13th Nov 2011, 04:01
Garuda used to fly 747s CGK - DPS, pretty short.

There are also a couple of airlines (LH I have been on, and KLM I think) that go from SIN to CGK and back before / after SIN - Europe using a 747 of some sort.

1st Aug 2012, 03:24
If my memory serves me right, SV flew 744 on their RUH-DMM route before.

Dan Winterland
1st Aug 2012, 05:29
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.

3rd Aug 2012, 04:52
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.

3rd Aug 2012, 04:54
Yes, Saudia used a 742 on this flight (360 km). Used it many times, and always full to the gunnels.

The late XV105
3rd Aug 2012, 11:28
I'm sure I've flown KL - Singers on a 747 before now

Yup, me too with SQ - and it has been absolutely rammed full every time.

3rd Aug 2012, 20:20
Not a schedules route but United used to have a maintenance base at Oakland. I suspect that they positioned aircraft from SFO. I reckon about ten miles.

4th Aug 2012, 13:16
Saudia used a 742 on this flight (360 km) Saudia didnt operate B747-200 aircraft in passenger configuration.

4th Aug 2012, 14:03

5th Aug 2012, 11:14
DaveReidUK, thats Air Atlanta, generally used for Umrah and Hajj traffic or international destinations, it wouldn't feature on a domestic schedule....Saudia used a 742 on this flight

5th Aug 2012, 13:14
DaveReidUK, thats Air Atlanta, generally used for Umrah and Hajj traffic or international destinations, it wouldn't feature on a domestic schedule

No argument there.

Saudia didn't operate B747-200 aircraft in passenger configuration.

Only with that part. :8

5th Aug 2012, 16:52
Saudia didnt operate B747-200 aircraft in passenger configuration.

OAK SFO 11 mi according to great circle mapper.

5th Aug 2012, 19:24
I love semantics :):)

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 :)

5th Aug 2012, 21:26
I seem to recall in my beer-fuddled mind that I flew on a BA 747 from Doha to Bahrain or vice-versa pre-causeway days around 1980/81. Don't know if anyone could confirm or kybosh my memory.

Lord Bracken
9th Aug 2012, 19:41
BA flew BAH-DOH-BAH on the 744 up until relatively recently, it's now op by 772.

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