Around the World in 80 Days? Now, It’s Just Hours
“Around the World in 80 Days”? Nowadays, it’s more like 80 hours … or even less.
And with the upcoming launch of the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight from Dubai to Panama City in Central America, Phileas Fogg and Jean Passepartout would have been able to complete one-third of their round-the-world journey in less than a day!
The Emirates Airlines service — which will begin February 1, 2016 — will use a Boeing 777-200LR, powered by a GE Aviation GE90 (110B) engine.The route will cover 13,821 km in 17 hours and 35 minutes and will exceed by just 17 km, what currently is the longest flight, the Qantas Airlines’ Sidney, Australia-Dallas, Texas route.
The GE90 engines series is exclusive to the Boeing 777, and it’s a natural fit for this engine to be used on this record-breaking flight. The GE90 series is the first engine with a fan blade made out of carbon fiber, making them lighter than conventional titanium blades, The lighter blades reduce the weight of the engine and help lower fuel burn. They also are more aerodynamic than other titanium blades, allowing for more air to enter the engine, thereby boosting performance.
The GE90 engine family powers all Boeing 777 models and is the exclusive powerplant for the 777-300ER, -200LR, and Freighter models. The family has accumulated more than 50 million flight hours and 7 million cycles since entering service in 1995.
The Boeing 777 and GE90 combo is already pushing against the furthest limits of long-distance travel. As far back as 2005, a Boeing 777-200LR with GE90 engines traveled 21,601 km — from Hong Kong to London — a distance greater than the circumference of the Earth.
Although the flight was done with a minimal passenger load, developments in engine and plane technology show that we should expect regular commercial flights of 20,000 km — the longest possible distance between any two places on Earth, given that the Earth’s circumference is 40,075 km.
The next generation 777X series aircraft — with the GE9X engine — will be able to further extend these distances, with ranges of more than 16,000 km. What’s more, expectations are that this will extend to more than 17,000 km by 2020, making non-stop flights possible from London to Australia and New Zealand.
The Dubai-Panama flight continues Emirates Airlines’ service growth into Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America, providing direct links for tourism and business, especially in areas such as pharmaceuticals, iron and steel, and electronics.
GE Aviation is helping airlines like Emirates, both across the region and the globe, to achieve their business objectives and meet their environmental goals.