NEWS
09/02/2020 09:52 GMT | Updated 10/02/2020 13:20 GMT

Storm Ciara Helps BA Flight Make Fastest Ever Subsonic Atlantic Crossing

The average flight time for the route is six hours and 13 minutes.

While Storm Ciara is causing misery for the majority of air passengers this weekend, the high winds that are battering the UK have actually helped one plane set a new record. 

According to plane-tracking site FlightRadar24, BA flight 112 took just four hours and 56 minutes to travel from New York to London late on Saturday evening, reaching ground speeds of over 800mph.

It is a new subsonic record, bested only by the now-defunct Concorde. 

BA told HuffPost UK in a statement: “We always prioritise safety over speed records, but our highly trained pilots made the most of the conditions to get customers back to London well ahead of time.”

The average flight time for the route is six hours and 13 minutes and the previous record was five hours and 13 minutes.

The incredible speeds are due to the weather system which has spawned Storm Ciara, a “bomb cyclone” over the North Atlantic.

This has created wind speeds of over 250mph in the jet stream, a narrow band of westerly air currents that planes ride for a boost in speed.

Despite travelling at a faster groundspeed than Mach 1 (767mph), the flight is still considered subsonic as the aircraft’s airspeed is relative to how fast the air around it is moving.

So a plane travelling at a groundspeed of 800mph in a jet stream of 250mph would have an airspeed of 550mph.

Elsewhere the weather news is less positive – weather warnings have been issued across the country for Sunday amid forecasts of very strong gusts and the risk of flooding. 

Heathrow Airport said it had agreed with its airline partners to “consolidate” Sunday’s flight schedule in a bid to minimise the number of cancelled flights.

British Airways said in a statement: “Like all airlines operating into and out of the UK tomorrow, we are expecting to be impacted by the adverse weather conditions across parts of the UK on Sunday.”

The airline said it was offering rebooking options for customers on domestic and European flights flying to and from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City on Sunday.

Virgin Atlantic has posted a list of cancelled flights on its website. It said it was “contacting affected customers and rearranging their travel arrangements”.