Ever since the Wright brothers’ first flight, air travel has evolved in an attempt to travel as quickly and cheaply as possible. Everyone knows that air travel is the fastest means of transport today, but which commercial airplane can you travel fastest on and which is the fastest commercial airplane for each major airline?
What is the fastest commercial airplane?
The fastest commercial aircraft in operation is Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, which flies at a speed of 1056 km/h or 656 mph (Mach 0.855). This aircraft can travel 15 000km (9321 miles) with up to 467 passengers on board, according to Wikipedia. This version of the Boeing 747 is larger than the original. It flew for the first time in March 2010, 5 years after its announcement.
If you want to fly with the fastest commercial airplane in the world, you should book a seat on the following airlines: Lufthansa (19 units), Korean Air (10 units), and Air China (7 units). The remaining 12 B747-8I aircraft that have been ordered belong to the US Air Force or are business jets.
For business travellers, the world’s fastest private jet is the Cessna Citation X+. This plane can travel a distance of 3460 nm (6408 km) with a top speed of 700 mph or 1127 km/h (Mach 0.92). This aircraft flew for the first time in 2012 and has a capacity of 12 passengers.
Fastest airplane of each major airline
- Emirates Ailines– Airbus A380 with a cruising speed of 645 mph or 1038 km/h (mach 0.84)
- Qatar Airways– Aibus A350 XWB with a cruising speed of 652 mph or 1050 km/h (mach 0.85)
- China Southern Ailines– Aibus A380 with a cruising speed of 645 mph or 1038 km/h (mach 0.84)
- Air China– Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental with a cruising speed of 656 mph or 1056 km/h (mach 0.855)
- Air France KLM– Boeing 777 with a cruising speed of 562 mph or 905 km/h (mach 0.84)
- Lufthansa– Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental with a cruising speed of 656 mph or 1056 km/h (mach 0.855)
- Ryanair– Boeing 737-800 with a cruising speed of 523 mph or 842 km/h (mach 0.68)
- American Airlines– Boeing 777 with a cruising speed of 562 mph or 905 km/h (mach 0.84)
- Delta Airlines– Aibus A350 with a cruising speed of 562 mph or 903 km/h (mach 0.84)
- Southwest Airlines– Boeing 737-800 with a cruising speed of 523 mph or 842 km/h (mach 0.68)
The fastest commercial airplanes of all time
The fastest commercial aircraft of all time was the Russian supersonic passenger plane, Tupolev Tu-144. The cruising speed of this aircraft was 1370 mph or 2200 km/h (Mach 1.8). This aircraft was the world’s first supersonic passenger plane, having its maiden flight two months before the Franco-British supersonic passenger plane Concorde. Between 1970 and 2000, these two supersonic aircraft represented a huge step in the evolution of air transport. The Concorde could cross the Atlantic in just three hours, twice as fast as a commercial jet today. The cruising speed of the Concorde was 1341 mph or 2160 km/h (Mach 1.75).
However, supersonic travel today is no longer possible, as the two aircraft have been retired. The Tupolev Tu-144 was withdrawn from passenger transport in 1978, just three years after its first passenger flight. It seems that the Soviet Union focused more on the race to bring out the first supersonic transport plane and not on its quality. Fuel consumption was very high, so the plane could not fly very long distances. The noise from the engines was deafening and passengers could not hear each other and had to use notes to communicate. After being used by the Soviet space program and NASA to train pilots, the Tu-144 was retired in 1999.
On the other hand, the passenger experience in Concorde was pleasant, the noise of the powerful engines could not be heard from inside the plane. It was also much more fuel-efficient, managing to fly from one continent to another. However, the price of a ticket was huge, with an average seat price of $12,000 in today’s money, according to Smithsonian Magazine. Due to accidents and ticket prices, the aircraft was retired in 2003.
Will commercial supersonic flights be possible ever again?
Certainly travelling at supersonic speeds was a unique experience. What do you think of supersonic passenger planes? Do you think that in the future ordinary people will be able to travel at supersonic speeds in the fastest commercial aircraft? Write down below in the comments.