Storm Helps British Airways Break Transatlantic Record

It takes a conventional passenger airliner 6 hours and 13 minutes to fly from New York to London on average, according to flight-tracking website Flightradar24.

On Sunday morning, a British Airways Boeing 747 completed the journey in just four hours and 56 minutes, smashing the previous record for a conventional subsonic crossing of five hours and 13 minutes held by Norwegian since January 2018.

As Statista's Niall McCarthy reports, the British Airways flight rode a jetstream powering Storm Ciara and it reached speeds of more than 800mph or 1,287km/h.

The plane touched down at Heathrow at 4:43 a.m., nearly two hours earlier than scheduled. The 747 was a minute faster than a Virgin Airbus A350 which landed minutes afterwards.

Even though it flew faster than the speed of sound (767 mph), it did not break the sound barrier as it was being propelled by the air around it. Other aircraft that have broken the sound barrier hold the speed-record between the two cities.

Infographic: Storm Helps British Airways Break Transatlantic Record | Statista

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In February 1996, a British Airways Concorde completed the trip in 2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds and that flight holds the record for the fastest transatlantic crossing by a passenger aircraft.

The all-time record is still held by a United States Air Force Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.

In 1974, Maj. James Sullivan and Maj. Noel Widdifield flew their aircraft from New York to Farnborough Airshow just outside London at 1,806 mph, completing the journey in an impressive 1 hour, 54 minutes and 56 seconds.