The storms that have been hitting Ireland and the UK over the last twenty-four hours have helped British Airways break the subsonic Transatlantic flight record.

Storm Ciara may be wreaking havoc across the UK, with more than 150 flood warnings and winds reaching in excess of 90 miles per hour, but the pilots of the Boeing 747-436 used them to their advantage in flying from New York to London Heathrow in four hours and 56 minutes, reports the BBC.

According to online flight-tracking service Flightradar24, this passed the previous subsonic Transatlantic flight record held by Norwegian by some 17 minutes.

Riding on a Jet Stream

The BA flight reached a speed of 825mph assisted by Storm Ciara on a jet steam. The flight arrived some 80 minutes ahead of schedule on the morning of Sunday 9 February.

Aviation consultant Alastair Rosenschein told the BBC that, “the pilots will have sat their aircraft in the core of the jet stream and at this time of year it’s quite strong. Turbulence in those jet streams can be quite severe, but you can also find it can be a very smooth journey.”

According to BBC Weather, The jet stream reached speeds of 260 mph (418 km/h) on Sunday morning.

Safety Before Speed

A British Airways spokesperson emphasised that the airline always prioritises “safety over speed records.”

“Our highly-trained pilots made the most of the conditions to get customers back to London well ahead of time.”

Concorde Transatlantic Flight Record

Concorde holds the record for the fastest transatlantic flight. In 1996, the supersonic jet flew from New York to London in two hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds, reaching 1,350mph.


If you wish to stay up to date with Storm Ciara and the disruption it is causing in the UK, click here for the latest updates from the BBC.

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