A reader from Brisbane emailed me yesterday about an E190 that flew over his house yesterday. Flightradar24 suggested the flight had flown more than 11 hours non-stop from Honolulu and the reader wanted to know if this was even possible.
It doesn’t seem like that, but there is still a pretty cool story behind it.
Embraer E190 flies from Costa Rica to Australia
An Embraer E190 had to be repositioned from Central America to Australia. The aircraft flew for COPA Airlines in Panama until March 2020. After about a year of storage in Costa Rica, the aircraft is now being added to the fleet of the Australian Alliance Airlines.
How does an E190 fly from Central America to Australia? The aircraft with registration code N998QQ completed the ~ 10,200 mile journey in four segments:
- The aircraft flew the approximately 2,600 mile flight from San Jose to San Diego in a flight time of 4 hours and 57 minutes
- The aircraft flew the approximately 2,600 mile flight from San Diego to Honolulu in a flight time of 5 hours and 19 minutes
- The aircraft flew the approximately 2,300 mile flight from Honolulu to the Marshall Islands and the approximately 2,700 mile flight from the Marshall Islands to Brisbane in a flight time of 11 hours and 28 minutes (the confusion of the reader arose from the fact that Flightradar24 this showed as a non-stop flight when in fact it stopped refueling)
In total, the aircraft spent around 22 hours in the air. It’s worth noting that there were a couple of stopovers along the way – the plane was three nights in San Diego, then one night in Honolulu, and then only refueled in the Marshall Islands (I suspect the stop in Honolulu was used by the crew to get there Rest This could have been another reason for the San Diego layover as it is three days longer than you would normally need for the crew to rest.
The range of an E190 is approximately 2,800 miles, although that requires a significant payload. Given how empty the E190 probably was, it could have flown significantly longer distances without a break. However, given that this route was mostly over water, it makes sense that the pilots did not overstep the limits of the aircraft.
Alliance Airlines’ giant E190 plans
Alliance Airlines, based in Brisbane, has historically operated a fleet of up to 46 Fokker aircraft. However, with the purchase of some used Embraer 190s, the airline is significantly increasing its fleet size. The airline will take on up to 30 of them, including:
- 14 former COPA Airlines E190s
- 16 former American Airlines E190s
These are all fairly new aircraft – COPA shipped the E190 between 2005 and 2009, while American Airlines took delivery of the E190 between 2006 and 2013. So these planes are between eight and 16 years old. This is significantly younger than the average age of the Allianz fleet, which is otherwise 28 years.
Alliance will use these aircraft both to strengthen its own network and to increase business on behalf of other airlines. Historically, Alliance has operated flights for both Qantas and Virgin Australia, with Qantas owning a 20% stake in Alliance.
Alliance Airlines takes over 30 Embraer E190s, all from America. These planes have quite a journey to Brisbane – as you can see, one plane stopped in San Diego, Honolulu, and the Marshall Islands, and you can expect similar stops for future deliveries.
It’s always fascinating to see planes being delivered around the world. From a logistical point of view, an E190 is hardly the most difficult aircraft, as there are aircraft with much shorter ranges.
Still pretty cool, right?