Plane: why flights are longer than 20 years ago


You think a 1h15 flight to Barcelona-Madrid is fast?
Yet it is longer than in 1995. Indeed, at the time, this same flight lasted only 55 minutes.

If air travel today is longer than it was 20 years ago, it is for a story of money (As always, you tell me!). It’s precisely a question of fuel, as aviation and astronautics professor Mark Drela explains: « Going faster consumes more fuel per passenger mile. This is especially true with the new high bypass jet engines and their large diameter front fans. »

Reduced speed to save money
To put it simply, the more passengers there are and the faster the aircraft goes, the more fuel the aircraft consumes and therefore costs more. To save money and reduce ticket prices, airlines have decided to reduce their cruising speed. That is why in 1960, the speed of commercial flights was 525 knots, whereas today, these same planes go at a speed between 480 and 510 knots.

Millions in savings
According to Business Insider, this system introduced by the airlines would work perfectly well. A 2008 press report even reveals that, in one year, the American company Jetblue would have saved more than 13 million dollars. A huge saving thanks to two small extra minutes on each flight plan.

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