A Philippine Airlines flight is due to land in Miami airport today, having flown 9,316 miles directly from Manila. The flight is scheduled to land just after 16:00 local time in Miami after a huge 15 hours and 58 minutes in the air. A Boeing 777-300ER is operating the long flight.
In one of the longest direct flights ever to land in Miami, a Philippine Airlines 777-300ER is making the most of its light load and some tailwinds to fly directly from Manila to Miami. Flight 5112 took off from Manila at 12:14 and is due to land at 16:12.
It is being operated by aircraft registration RP-C7772, a Boeing 777-300ER jet with an average range of just 7,370 miles. The flight today will be over 9,000 miles meaning the plane will be stretched to its maximum. However, it seems the plane is almost empty with very few passengers, and a favorable tailwind allows the aircraft to make the extended trip.
Is a non-stop return possible?
According to One Mile At A Time, it could well be a sort of repatriation flight. Miami docks are currently full of cruise ships with more arriving every day. A large percentage of staff from cruise ships are either from the Philippines or from neighboring countries. This flight could be coming to take some of these citizens home.
If this is the case, then its unlikely the plane will make a non-stop return flight. Not only will it have to face headwinds, but with more passengers and a heavier aircraft, the 777-300ER just won’t make the trip. Currently, it is not known when the plane will return to the Philippines or where it will stop to refuel.
The rise of ultra-long-haul flights
This new generation of aircraft is ushering in an age of what’s become known as ultra-long-haul flights. The new technology available means airlines are starting to launch regular routes that stretch most of the way around the world. The lightweight tech and new fuel-efficient engines mean we will likely see increasing numbers of flights pushing the boundaries of possibility.
Last year, Singapore Airlines launched the longest flight between Singapore and Newark airport at a whopping 9,534 miles and a total time of 18 and a half hours. And this isn’t Philippine Airlines’ first foray into ultra-long-haul flights. It already flies between Manila and JFK. At 8,520 miles, it’s the eighth-longest flight in the world and is generally operated by an Airbus A350.
New technology is also being applied to help passengers beat the effects of jetlag and being confined for so long. Inflight exercises, smart lighting, and special menus are all contributing to improving the way passengers cope with these ultra-long-haul flights. Although it looks as though this flight is a one-off to bring citizens home, it won’t be long before flights like this are the new normal.
But when these flights do become a regular occurrence, aircraft technology will far outstrip our ability as humans to cope. A new generation of aircraft will push the limits of flying. We will soon be seeing flights of upwards of 20 hours at a time. But for the short-term future, we hope Philippine Airlines can reunite some cruise ships staff with their families back home.