Qatar Executive’s Incredible World Circumnavigation Speed Record


Qatar Executive, the private jet division of the Middle Eastern carrier, hosted a documentary screening that celebrated the fastest ever pole-to-pole flight around the world. Amongst the One More Orbit crew aboard the aircraft was a member of the Qatar attendant team who became the first woman in history to complete a polar circumnavigation.

The One More Orbit team in front of the G650ER
The One More Orbit team in front of the Gulfstream G650ER provided by Qatar Airways. Photo: Qatar Airways

An international celebration

This amazing achievement was completed in an astounding time of 46 hours 40 minutes, with an itinerary including three stops, starting and ending at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The previous record was set in 2008 at 52 hours and 32 minutes, meaning the One More Orbit mission did great to get so far ahead.

Among the team was former ISS Commander Colonel Terry Virts and Action Aviation Chairman Hamish Harding. From take-off at the NASA shuttle landing facility, the aircraft headed straight to the North Pole where it began its ambitious goal.

The mission was split into four sectors; NASA shuttle landing facility in Florida to Astana, Astana to Mauritius, Mauritius to Chile and Chile back to NASA, Florida, with pit stops in each location for maintenance checks and refueling.

The One More Orbit flight path
The One More Orbit mission broke the record for the fastest flight to complete a polar circumnavigation of the globe. Photo: One More Orbit

Ettore Rodaro, Executive Vice President, Qatar Executive said,

“Thanks to the Qatar Airways network around the globe, were we able to prepare every fuel stop efficiently and swiftly, a major component in breaking world speed records. We wrote history during that mission, something that will remain in the books for a long time.”


The Gulfstream G650ER

The One More Orbit mission was made possible by the Gulfstream G650ER, the fastest ultra-long-range business jet available. Qatar Executive is the world’s largest carrier to own and operate the G650ER, currently holding six. It also holds four Gulfstream G500s, three Bombardier Challenger 605s, four Global 5000s and one Global XRS.

The G650ER proved a perfect choice with a maximum speed of 956 km/h at Mach 0.925 powered by two Rolls-Royce BR725 engines. For the mission, onboard amongst the crew was a fully equipped cinematographer, allowing the team to communicate and stream live feed at high resolution to the mission control director Captain Ian Cameron. With all equipment onboard, the aircraft weight was measured precisely in order to maximize distance and speed.

The Gulfstream G650ER
Qatar Airways owns the fastest long-range business jet available. Photo: Qatar Airways

One record isn’t enough

Amazingly, amongst the overall speed record, Qatar Airways and the One More Orbit team broke eleven more during their mission:

  • North Pole to South Pole – 22 hours, 7 minutes
  • Cape Canaveral to North Pole – 7 hours, 34 minutes
  • Cape Canaveral to Astana – 12 hours, 16 minutes
  • North Pole to Astana – 4 hours, 42 minutes
  • North Pole to Mauritius- 13 hours, 24 minutes
  • Astana to South Pole – 17 hours, 25 minutes
  • Mauritius to South Pole -8 hours, 43 minutes
  • Mauritius to Punta Arenas- 12 hours, 28 minutes
  • South Pole to Punta Arenas- 3 hours, 45 minutes
  • South Pole to Cape Canaveral – 14 hours, 45 minutes
  • Punta Arenas to Cape Canaveral – 11 hours

With current aircraft technologies at their peak, Qatar Airways and the One More Orbit team will hold this record for a good while, if not forever.