- British Airways BA112
- 4:56 hour(s):minute(s)
- United Kingdom (Heathrow Airport)
The fastest transatlantic flight (New York JFK to London Heathrow) by a subsonic airliner was achieved British Airways flight BA112 on 9 February 2020. The 747-400 covered a distance of 5,554 km (3,451 mi) in just 4 hours 56 minutes, taking off at 23:21 on 8 February and touching down at 04:17 the following day (all times UTC).
This record setting flight was made possible by Storm Ciara, an extratropical cyclone that formed over the North Atlantic on 4 February 2020. This powerful storm had a low-pressure centre that dropped as far as 944 millibars, accelerating the already fast-moving jet stream winds that circle Earth near the poles.
The British Airways aircraft was never travelling faster than its typical cruising speed of around 933 km/h (579 mph) relative to the air around it, but that air mass was moving at speeds of up to 418 km/h (260 mph). While subsonic in relation to its surroundings, the plane was travelling at a speed of 1,327 km/h (825 mph) relative to the ground below.
This flight beat the previous record of 5 hours 13 minutes, set by a Norwegian Air Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on 15 Jan 2018 with the assistance of a tailwind that reached speeds of up to 176 knots (326 kilometres per hour; 203 miles per hour).
The overall record for the the fastest transatlantic flight in a commercial aircraft overall is held by the now-retired supersonic airliner Concorde. On 7 February 1996, a British Airways Concorde flew between New York JFK and London Heathrow in 2 hours 52 minutes 59 seconds. Its average speed was 2,011 km/h (1,250 mph).