Unless I’m missing something, Israir seems to be operating a scheduled flight that’s beyond the published range of an aircraft, which is kind of cool… I think?
Israir’s Tel Aviv to Kiev flight
Israir is a fairly small Israeli airline with just seven planes in its fleet, including four A320s and three ATR 72-500s. The airline operates domestic flights, as well as some international flights to countries in the region.
At the moment the airline seems to be operating an especially noteworthy flight. Israir flies from Tel Aviv to Kiev, a flight that covers a distance of 1,282 miles.
Interestingly, Israir is currently using an ATR 72-500 for this route. On July 16, an ATR 72-500 with the registration code 4X-ATI operated Israir flight 851 from Tel Aviv to Kiev, and the plane was in the air for 4hr49min. At least for the next week, the plane is scheduled to operate the route at least two more times, before an A320 takes over again.
What makes this so interesting?
Best I can tell, this is the longest scheduled commercial flight operated by this aircraft type. To take it a step further, the ATR 72-500 has a published range with a full load of 823 miles, which is more than a third shorter than the distance of this flight.
Now, the range of a plane can increase significantly with a light load, but just how light of a load are they expecting for this flight? On the first such flight with this plane, were there just a few passengers in both directions? And is the airline counting on these flights being empty over the coming days as well? Or what am I missing?
In August the flight is scheduled to once again be operated by an Airbus A320, at which point the “block time” for this flight will be reduced from 4hr55min to 3hr25min, so it takes an extra 90 minutes for this flight to be operated by a turboprop rather than a jet.
According to Wikipedia, the longest regularly scheduled ATR 72-500 flight is on Air Tahiti between Papeete and Totegegie, and that covers a distance of 1,028 miles, and is blocked at 4hr.
Israir is operating what I believe is the longest currently scheduled ATR 72 flight in the world, and possibly the longest scheduled passenger flight for the plane ever? Admittedly this is much more an avgeek story than something that has implications for many, but I find it to be pretty cool nonetheless.
Spending about five hours in a turboprop doesn’t sound too fun, though.
Arguably it’s still not as cool as Air Greenland’s eight hour turboprop flights a few months back, but then again those weren’t scheduled passenger flights.
(Tip of the hat to Sagi, featured image courtesy of Kwo)