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09th Feb 2020

Storm Ciara’s winds were so strong that it caused a British Airways transatlantic flight to break a speed record

Rory Cashin

british airways strike

The winds caused the plane to reach speeds of more than 800mph.

Storm Ciara is arriving in Ireland and the UK today (full updated weather warnings and advisories here), with more (but different) bad weather set to arrive directly behind it (more on that here).

However, one of the unexpected side effects of the high winds from the storm is that it may have caused British Airways to break a speed record, after FlightRadar24, an online flight tracking service, recorded that a British Airways Boeing 747 departing JFK airport on Saturday reached Heathrow in 4 hours 56 minutes shortly after 11.20pm.

The flight normally takes 6 hours 55 minutes, meaning that the high winds from Storm Ciara cut two hours from the passengers’ flight time, and the new time sets a record for non-supersonic aircraft.

The previous record, by Norwegian Airlines in January 2018, was set when a New York to London flight was completed in 5 hours 13 minutes.

According to FlightRadar24’s tracking tool, the peak speed of the flight was approximately 825mph, with The Independent reporting that the aircraft was able to take advantage of 200mph jet stream over the Atlantic, but a BA spokesperson did tell them that “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.”

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