The Airbus A380 is the largest commercial passenger aircraft ever built. While the jet is designed for long-haul operations, it’s not as well known for its range when compared to efficient twinjets like the Boeing 787-8, Boeing 777-200LR, and Airbus A350-900ULR. Despite this, the aircraft type still manages to connect some impressive city pairs- even now when travel demand is relatively weak. Let’s look at the Airbus A380’s longest flights.
The longest A380 flight ever
The A380 registered as VH-OQH and given the name “Reginald Ansett” by Qantas, completed the 16,105km (8,696NM) route from Dresden, Germany (DRS) to Sydney, Australia (SYD) on December 20th, 2019.
The non-commercial flight, void of passengers or cargo, had a total duration of 18 hours and 26 minutes. The Independent reports that the aircraft had spent several weeks at Dresden, getting its interiors upgraded.
Unfortunately, within a matter of months, the world would fully realize the seriousness of the global health crisis, leaving VH-OQH nowhere to go and no one to transport. The aircraft was then transported to Victorville, California, for long-term storage in July of 2020, where it has remained ever since.
Longest commercial flight (pre-pandemic)
Before the crisis, the longest regular passenger flight for an A380 was between Dubai, in the UAE (DXB) – Auckland, New Zealand (AKL). The total distance for this Emirates service was 14,193km (7,664NM).
This distance record was first set when the A380 first took the service in 2016. According to the BBC, the Auckland-Dubai portion was estimated to take approximately 17 hours and 15 minutes, but ended up taking ‘just‘ 16 hours and 24 minutes.
With the scheduled time, the BBC reported in 2016 that it would have beaten Qantas’ Sydney-Dallas service for the longest A380 flight in terms of duration. However, covering 13,800km (7,451 miles) across the Pacific has taken as long as 16 hours and 55 minutes. Thus, with no additional news surfacing of a longer flight duration, it appears that Sydney-Dallas still holds the title for longest A380 passenger service in terms of time.
Longest flight currently in operation
Looking at RadarBox.com flight data, it appears that Emirates’ Dubai (DXB)-Los Angeles (LAX) service is the longest A380 passenger service currently in operation with a distance of 13,420km (7,246NM). The service has the following details:
- EK215: Dubai to Los Angeles has a scheduled time of up to 16 hours and 20 minutes. Depending on weather conditions, the A380 can complete the journey somewhere between 15 hours and 20 minutes and 16 hours and 20 minutes.
- EK216: Los Angeles to Dubai has a scheduled time of 15 hours ad 50 minutes but can be completed as fast as 14 hours and four minutes.
Unfortunately, there are few long-distance city pairs in the world that can support the volume of passengers required to make an A380 flight profitable and still fit within the type’s maximum range.
But who knows, maybe one day we’ll see an airline push the limits of the aircraft to greater distances – perhaps achieved with a premium-heavy configuration like Singapore Airlines’ A350-900ULR. It’s unlikely… but we can still dream…
What’s the longest Airbus A380 service you’ve flown on? Let us know by leaving a comment!