Everyone talks about long-haul, but what about flights just below and just above the long-haul cut-off point?

Saudia B777-300ER
‘Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Much has been written about long-haul flying. Defined as routes 3,000 miles (4,828 km) or more, what about those that just about or don’t quite meet that criteria? Inevitably, these get less attention than others, particularly ultra-long hauls. Still, some 114 nonstop airport pairs worldwide fall between 2,900 miles (4,667km) and 3,100 miles (4,989km) in October, according to the latest OAG data.

Just over & not quite long-haul

It isn’t surprising that almost all 114 airport pairs are international. However, 13 are domestic, all within Russia or the USA’s lower 48 to Hawaii and Alaska. Phoenix to Honolulu has more flights than any other domestic ‘just over and not quite’ (JO&NQ) long-haul.

However, the longest JO&NQ is Moscow Vnukovo to Yakutsk, in the Russian Far East, and perhaps the coldest city in the world. Some 3,061 miles (4,926) apart, it has a block time of up to seven hours. There are 26 flights in October exclusively by Yakutia Airlines’ two-class B737-800s. Domodedovo-Yaktusk and SheremetyevoYaktusk, served more frequently, fall just short by distance.

2,900 to 3,100 mile routes in October 2022

Although a mess of a map, this shows all airport pairs between 2,900 miles (4,667km) and 3,100 miles (4,989km) in October. Image: GCMap.

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Narrowbodies are important

Like Yakutia Airlines’ B737 service, narrowbodies are prevalent in the JO&NQ list. After all, it is single-aisle territory, especially with more fuel-efficient modern equipment that can open new opportunities, especially if there’s sufficient premium demand to offset higher seat-mile costs.

OAG shows that narrowbodies will operate nearly four in ten flights (36%). They’ll be on virtually half of the airport pairs (55 of the 114), whether wholly or occasionally. While many airlines use single-aisle equipment on such routes, Copa Airlines, S7 Airlines, and Turkish Airlines are especially dominant.


All-narrowbody airline Copa has the second-highest number of JO&NQ long-haul flights. It is behind only all-widebody Emirates. Photo: Copa Airlines.

The ten most served JO&NQ

The following table summarizes the top ten JO&NQ long-haul airport pairs by October flights. Copa between Panama City and Santiago is the most served, with 180 departing services and up to 6x daily.

Flights leave Panama at 12:12, 15:32, 15:50, 18:11, 18:44, and 21:09, and arrive back at 06:32, 06:36, 08:43, 10:34, 10:46, and 17:34. Your eyes don’t deceive you: some of Copa’s flights do depart/arrive within minutes of each other. That’s because the airline only has narrowbodies and the periods coincide with peak times for transit flights, with more passengers to be transported.

Miles (km) Airport pair in October Airline(s) Aircraft (ordered by flights) October flights (across all airline(s))
2,974 (4,787) Panama City to Santiago Copa B737-800, B737 MAX 9 180; up to 6x daily
3,012 (4,848) Dubai to Frankfurt Emirates, Lufthansa B777-300ER (Emirates), A330-300 (Lufthansa), A380 (Emirates) 121; Up to 4x daily
3,050 (4,909) Dubai to Bangkok Emirates A380 93; 3x daily
2,993 (4,816) Boston to Dublin Aer Lingus, Delta A330-300 (Aer Lingus), B767-300ER (Delta), B767-400ER (Delta) 93; 3x daily
3,091 (4,975) Doha to Paris CDG Qatar Airways A380, B777-300ER, A350-900, A350-1000, B777-200LR 93; 3x daily
2,966 (4,773) Dubai to Zurich Emirates, SWISS B777-300ER (Emirates), A380 (Emirates), A330-300 (SWISS) 93; 3x daily
2,917 (4,695) Phoenix to Honolulu American, Hawaiian, Southwest A321neo (American), A330-200 (Hawaiian), B737 MAX 8 (Southwest) 93; 3x daily
3,073 (4,946) Riyadh to London Heathrow Saudia, British Airways B777-300ER (Saudia), B777-200ER (BA) 86; up to 3x daily
2,902 (4,671) Bogotá to Buenos Aires Avianca, Viva A320neo (Avianca, Viva), B787-8, A330-200 (Avianca), A319 (Avianca) 83; up to 3x daily
2,948 (4,744) Moscow Domodedovo to Chita S7 Airlines, Ural Airlines A320neo (S7), A320ceo/neo (Ural), A319 (Ural) 79; up to 3x daily

What do you make of it all? Let us know in the comments.

Source: simpleflying.com

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