Fuel Costs Ground Extended Flights

Too pricey to keep 'flying tankers' in the air
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2008 4:52 AM CDT
Fuel Costs Ground Extended Flights
A Cathay Pacific Airbus A340 taxis back to a gate at Vancouver International Airport , Friday, Dec. 14, 2007.    (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Richard Lam)

Super-long flights were hailed as the future of aviation only a few years ago, but the soaring price of fuel has grounded those plans, reports the Wall Street Journal. Airlines are delaying or canceling intercontinental routes as the cost of keeping "flying tankers" in the air for over 12 hours stops making economic sense.

Orders have dropped for planes like the Boeing 777 and Airbus 340, capable of making globe-spanning flights. Airline chiefs say super-long flights still have a future, but they are finding fewer passengers willing to pay big premiums for the ease of flying non-stop. Singapore Airlines is keeping the world's longest flight—18 hours from Singapore to New York—going for now, but without an economy class. (Read more Boeing 777 stories.)

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