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What was considered long-haul in the 70s and what now?

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What was considered long-haul in the 70s and what now?

Old 30th May 2019, 19:21
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What was considered long-haul in the 70s and what now?

I recently read an article somewhere (I think it was part of the 50th Airbus anniversary at Flight Global) and I read this:
"While the A300B, which first flew in 1972, and its followers, the A300-600 and A310, could not compete in the long-haul market with [the] US types, their capacity and reliability made them strong-sellers in the short- and medium-haul market."

The airplanes mentioned had the range of 9600km (A310) and 7500km (A300-600). I checked Boeing 747-100 specifications and it turned out it only had the range of 8500km, actually a thousand less than A310.

So my question is, what was considered "long-haul" in the 70s? And while we're on it, what do you, the people of PPRUNE, consider long-haul today? Where was (and is now) the watershed between short-haul, medium-haul, long-haul, ultra-long-haul? How and when did that change happen... if it did?

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Old 30th May 2019, 20:50
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Heathrow Airport takes an innovative approach to categorising short- vs long-haul - see Fly Quiet League table Q4 2018.

Note that in 23rd and 39th position, respectively, are "Turkish Airlines - long haul" and "Turkish Airlines - short haul".

This is despite the fact that Turkish only serves one destination - Istanbul - to/from Heathrow.

Digging into Heathrow's methodology reveals that aircraft under 180 tonnes (effectively all narrow-body types) are classed as "short haul" and those of 180 tonnes and over (i.e. wide-bodies) are classed as "long haul".

On second thoughts, that probably doesn't help you very much.
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Old 30th May 2019, 22:17
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I can't answer your question with any official data. My own categorisation, which hasn't changed over the years, is: Up to roughly 2 hours = short haul. From 3 to 5 hours = medium haul. Anything above 6 hrs = long haul.
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Old 31st May 2019, 02:07
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Back in the 70's twins couldn't fly over expanses of water or other terrain where they didn't have a suitable alternate airfield to drop in to PDQ.

At Laker (11 x DC10's) the A300-B4 was considered for the YYZ route but it never materialised.
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Old 31st May 2019, 06:13
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Single-aisle
There and back in a day = short haul
Night-stopping after one sector due FDP = medium haul

Twin-aisle
Same as above to the same destinations; plus
Two or three pilots = long haul
Four Pilots = ultra long haul
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Old 31st May 2019, 06:54
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707s were flying 9+ hour sectors from the early 1960s. For a long time the World's longest non-stop route was Buenos Aires to Madrid which was introduced in 1968 or so; 5450nm great-circle.

Going back another decade, Tel Aviv to New York was a 4950nm slog on a Britannia, mostly completed non-stop.

Last edited by El Bunto; 31st May 2019 at 07:05.
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Old 31st May 2019, 07:05
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Originally Posted by ProPax
I recently read an article somewhere (I think it was part of the 50th Airbus anniversary at Flight Global) and I read this:
"While the A300B, which first flew in 1972, and its followers, the A300-600 and A310, could not compete in the long-haul market with [the] US types, their capacity and reliability made them strong-sellers in the short- and medium-haul market."

The airplanes mentioned had the range of 9600km (A310) and 7500km (A300-600). I checked Boeing 747-100 specifications and it turned out it only had the range of 8500km, actually a thousand less than A310.

So my question is, what was considered "long-haul" in the 70s? And while we're on it, what do you, the people of PPRUNE, consider long-haul today? Where was (and is now) the watershed between short-haul, medium-haul, long-haul, ultra-long-haul? How and when did that change happen... if it did?
In the 1970's long haul routes were still the domain of 707-320B/C's, plus the DC-8 super sixty series. Only these types could manage UK/Europe - USA West Coast usually non-stop.
The VC-10 tended to have to stop quite often for a drink flying for BOAC BUA/BCAL - she served down to Santiago until BCAL decided the 707C was the way to go.

At the time all the routes from UK down to South and East Africa stopped on the way - SAA in Europe then again in Sal island for fuel, and the other carriers like BOAC LH KL and AZ also stopped say on the NBO/JNB runs.
Nothing was non-stop at that time going down that way - or to the Far East and Australasia - again stops were made going there in Europe, then in the Middle East Iran India Burma for HKG SIN BKK KUL which were the norm...

1971-1972 enter the 747-100 - but she was not able to do what a 707C or DC-8-62/63 could do ie; LHR-LAX non-stop -
The 741 was USA East Coast only, she also could not do LHR-NBO non-stop either.
Fast forward 10 years and the BA 747-236 with RR engines was then able to do the West Coast or NBO non-stop.

With the earlier versions of the 747-200B bought by SAA QF SQ and others we started to see more non-stop longer hauls achievable by mid-late 1970's.

Also in 1972 we saw the DC-10 and L1011 enter service - both of these were short-mid haul only - The exception being the long range DC-10 30 (and -20) which was able to do what a DC-8 62/63 could do.
Almost all of the European carriers (and ANZ who flew the LHR- LAX for BA) ordered the DC-10 30.

OK - same time enters Airbus with the Bus-Stop jet A300B - the initial design was only a short haul people mover a/c at the time, until the A310 came along which was designed for longer thin routes (rather like the 787-8 of today)
The A310 was further developed in to the -300 series with a much longer range.
Only when the A300-600R in the early 1990's (with ETOPS developments saw the series used on the Transatlantic for instance) and Olympic used them from ATH to NBO and JNB replacing the 747.

Today -
Short haul is possibly defined where a crew can operate there and back in a day - just my opinion
For UK charter airlines this is to the Med, Canaries, Cyprus and the Greek Islands.

Medium haul is say LHR-DXB, AUH

Long haul is LHR-NYC LAX SFO NBO JNB CPT etc


In the early 1970's - (from the UK non-stop)
short haul was Europe down to the Med
medium haul was the Canaries Greece Tel Aviv Cyprus Egypt etc
long haul was probably defined as BAH DXB NYC YUL YYZ Caribbean - remember that NBO was still then not possible non-stop with a wide body, nor was the USA west coast until the DC-10 30 and the 747-200B.
ULR did not exist in the last century (ULR today defined by needing 4 pilots usually, and well over a 12 hours FT) but Oz and NZ would be a very long haul flight with many stops back in those days
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Old 31st May 2019, 09:17
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IMHO these days it's almost impossible to define by aisle numbers or aircraft type, one obvious (?) example being the BA JFK-LCY service..very much single aisle, operated by "crews" from the shorthaul pool ( albeit with extra training), and sometimes enjoying a long layover in New York because of aircraft utilisation and passenger demand..

Short haul is possibly defined where a crew can operate there and back in a day - just my opinion
If you have to have a definition I think that's as good as any these days, with the emphasis on "can", because of course in some cases the FDP rules would allow an out and back but aircraft scheduling, slots, curfews may prevent it being scheduled in reality.
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Old 31st May 2019, 10:38
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One historical legacy at BA, which still applies, is that flight numbers from BA1 to BA299 are nominally longhaul (with odd numbers used outbound from the UK and even numbers inbound), whereas flight numbers BA300 and above are shorthaul and use the opposite convention (even outbound, odd inbound).
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Old 31st May 2019, 12:26
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Mr reid, thank you for incidentally answering something that I have often wondered about t and that was did BEA and BOAC reverse the odd even flight numbers .
As to the main question it is really difficult because obviously as a passenger London to Hong Kong was a long haul flight but you could fly there ona medium haul aircraft on one of the many complicated west east routes from Europe that stopped every five or six hours. I also think 747 -100s could fly to NBO but not fly back due to altitude there and SAA used to fly a 747 Clasic non stop to Joburg on Mondays-a very very long haul but again couldnt operate the reverse direction.

For what it is wrth my personal view was that short haul was LHR to Helsinki Mocow and Cyprus. Anything beyond that but less than westbound transatlantic was medium haul and JFK Tehran Bombay etc were all long haul. No such thing as ultra long haul back then as although some flights were scheduled LHR-LAX lots of times they made tech stops until the DC10-30 came along .

of course as far as LHR was concerned if it was BEA it ws short haul if it was the other lot it was long hail and if it was Cyprus or Rome it could be both.

Also how would one class the great BOAC route from Tokyo to Jo burg via Hong Kong . Colombo Seychelles Mauritius
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Old 31st May 2019, 12:31
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Originally Posted by pax britanica
Mr reid, thank you for incidentally answering something that I have often wondered about t and that was did BEA and BOAC reverse the odd even flight numbers .
As to the main question it is really difficult because obviously as a passenger London to Hong Kong was a long haul flight but you could fly there ona medium haul aircraft on one of the many complicated west east routes from Europe that stopped every five or six hours. I also think 747 -100s could fly to NBO but not fly back due to altitude there and SAA used to fly a 747 Clasic non stop to Joburg on Mondays-a very very long haul but again couldnt operate the reverse direction.

For what it is wrth my personal view was that short haul was LHR to Helsinki Mocow and Cyprus. Anything beyond that but less than westbound transatlantic was medium haul and JFK Tehran Bombay etc were all long haul. No such thing as ultra long haul back then as although some flights were scheduled LHR-LAX lots of times they made tech stops until the DC10-30 came along .

of course as far as LHR was concerned if it was BEA it ws short haul if it was the other lot it was long hail and if it was Cyprus or Rome it could be both.

Also how would one class the great BOAC route from Tokyo to Jo burg via Hong Kong . Colombo Seychelles Mauritius
SAA did operate non stop to LHR with the classic (sort of) by flying first to Upington to refuel at sea level
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Old 31st May 2019, 13:50
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Re the SAA 747 ops LHR-South Africa and v.v - Most interesting, thanks, to note your comments about some SAA 747 non-stops - Was this done from the start of SuperB ops or was it later on with the SP?

Of course there was then also the overfly ban for South Africa (anti apartheid) so SAA had to route down out over the Atlantic hence Sal in the Cape Verde's was used to tech stop.

Re early BA 747-100 Ops to NBO - my pal (CC CSD long retired) just said they always had to stop in Rome or somewhere both ways...
LH flew three days a week FRA-NBO-JNB, 747-100 at first.

TIA Rog.
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Old 31st May 2019, 14:00
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In BA with the divisions Shorthaul and Longhaul there were a number of destinations that were served by both.

TLV, CAI, LCA being three. At one time they were also served by the same aircraft type L1011 Tristars. The product on board was different and the crews were not interchangeable down route.

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Old 31st May 2019, 14:34
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Originally Posted by vctenderness
In BA with the divisions Shorthaul and Longhaul there were a number of destinations that were served by both.

TLV, CAI, LCA being three.
Some seasons TLV still effectively is. Either a ‘bus or a T7...and sometimes the T7 crew get the very short night stop whilst the Airbus crew get a well earned layover day...

As for NBO and the 747 with BA but I’ve certainly did a few LHR-NBO-JNB-NBO-LHR on the 747 and never tech stopped in FCO but I can’t remember the details as to whether it was always a -200 or not.

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Old 31st May 2019, 14:45
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
Heathrow Airport takes an innovative approach to categorising short- vs long-haul - see Fly Quiet League table Q4 2018.

Note that in 23rd and 39th position, respectively, are "Turkish Airlines - long haul" and "Turkish Airlines - short haul".

This is despite the fact that Turkish only serves one destination - Istanbul - to/from Heathrow.

Digging into Heathrow's methodology reveals that aircraft under 180 tonnes (effectively all narrow-body types) are classed as "short haul" and those of 180 tonnes and over (i.e. wide-bodies) are classed as "long haul".

On second thoughts, that probably doesn't help you very much.
No, it doesn't. But it's an interesting read nonetheless. Thank you. :-)

PS Doesn't A310 weigh less than 180 tonnes? And 767-200? And 767-300? May I suggest, dear sirs, that the Heathrow methodology is... not ideal?
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Old 31st May 2019, 14:54
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Originally Posted by rog747
In the 1970's long haul routes were still the domain of 707-320B/C's, plus the DC-8 super sixty series. Only these types could manage UK/Europe - USA West Coast usually non-stop...
WOW! What a post! Thank you very much!!!
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Old 31st May 2019, 15:37
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Originally Posted by ProPax
PS Doesn't A310 weigh less than 180 tonnes? And 767-200? And 767-300?
Indeed they do, apart from the 767-300ER.

I suspect that whoever at Heathrow dreamed up the bizarre demarcation was influenced by the fact that A310s, B762s and non-ER/-F B763s are all rarely to be seen nowadays at LHR.
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Old 31st May 2019, 16:46
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you're welcome

Originally Posted by ProPax
WOW! What a post! Thank you very much!!!
Thanks - the subject of these times fascinates me - and has done since a boy. Very lucky to then enjoy a career working with those aircraft during those times.

Like many chaps on here I started working at the London airports from 1972 (plus being a spotter from 1962 lol) so then was the real start of the 747 and DC-10 beginning to show its strengths and any weaknesses on the long haul routes they were to take over from the 707 and DC-8's (and in some ways the VC-10)

Developments of the 747 later in the 70's (one can also include the 747SP) culminating in the 747-400 almost 20 years later, were the true long haulers for all the Legacy airlines making LHR-SIN, BKK HKG JNB CPT and South America truly non-stop.

There were as many charter airlines then as there are Low cost ones now.
Many legacy carriers had their own charter arm, which operated both short and long haul flights for many of the carriers.
SAS - Scanair
KLM - Martinair
LH - Condor (soon to be repeated?)
BEA - BEA airtours (under BA - British Airtours)
Sabena - Sobelair
Iberia - Aviaco
Alitalia - SAM
Swissair - Balair
AF - Air Charter International
El Al - Sun D'or

Re the A300 - It was seen that twin engine wide body concept was a weak and flawed concept at the start and sales were poor.
Douglas mooted a DC-10 twin but only as far as a brochure.
The DC-10-10 and L1011 all saw sterling service on US domestic routes, TransCon and Hawaii being their stomping grounds.
The 747 was ordered by JAL as an SR version for domestic service seating over 500 pax.
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Old 31st May 2019, 16:54
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Rog747: Cathay Pacific were doing HKG-LGW direct with B747-267 in 1986! My longest such sector 14:45 Most airlines only introduced ULH with the arrival of the B747-400
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Old 31st May 2019, 17:00
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Re SAA , the Monday non stop was 747-100 or 200 if they had the latter. interesting that it stopped in Uppington I thought it came back via Ilho do Sal , as you say they could not overfly many African states in those days As for BOAC stopping in Rome I am sure you are right now I think about it, BOAC had quite few stops there en route further east or south .

The Monday SAA non stop was quite a sight from the departure end of 28L , one I remember rotating at the junction with old 23R and being able to hear the real thunder of all those jumbo wheels ahead of the engine noise , Certainly the longest take off runs I ever saw at LHR
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