Virgin Atlantic actually had two of its planes reach Heathrow in under five hours from JFK on Saturday night, each an Airbus A350-1000. However, these planes achieved flight times of 4 hours and 57 minutes and 4 hours and 59 minutes, which at least allowed Virgin Atlantic to tease on Twitter that it accomplished the feat on much less fuel. Both times are still significantly faster than the previous best subsonic Atlantic crossing, set by a Norwegian airliner that took 5 hours and 13 minutes.None of these times are close to those achieved by Concorde, a supersonic commercial airliner operated by BA and Air France from 1976 until 2003. In 1996, a BA Concorde flew the same JFK-LHR route in just 2 hours and 52 minutes, cruising at Mach 2. And even that's not the fastest transatlantic crossing by an air-breathing aircraft that we know of. In 1974, an SR-71 flew between the two cities in a mere 1 hour and 54 minutes, although pedants might disqualify it, as it did not take off from JFK nor land at Heathrow.
This story originally appeared on Ars Technica.
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