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British Airways smashes record for quickest subsonic flight from New York to London

British Airways Boeing 747-400 with nickname Queen of the Skies commercial aircraft as seen on final approach with landing gear down landing at New York JFK John F. Kennedy International Airport in USA on 23 January 2020. The jumbo jet wide-body long haul airplane has the registration G-CIVR with 4x RR engines. BA is connecting capital of UK London LHR to New York City via Transatlantic flight. BAW Speedbird is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom member of Oneworld aviation alliance. NY, USA (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

 (CNN) — A British Airways (BA) flight has broken the record for the fastest-ever subsonic flight between New York and London, reaching a top speed of more than 800mph (1,287km/h).

The Boeing 747 aircraft flew overnight from Saturday to Sunday and reached its destination in four hours and 56 minutes, as Storm Ciara sped towards the United Kingdom.

The plane landed at Heathrow airport at 4.43 a.m., almost two hours earlier than scheduled. Its top speed during the flight was 825mph (1,327km/h), according to Flightradar24, an online flight-tracking service.

The flight-tracking platform estimates that the average time it takes a plane to fly between London and New York is six hours and 13 minutes.

Flightradar24 announced the news of the record-breaking flight on its Twitter account, writing: “If we’re not mistaken, BA now retakes the fastest subsonic NY-London crossing from Norwegian.”

The service added that the British Airways flight was one minute faster than a Virgin Airbus A350 flight, which touched down at Heathrow moments later. It beat another Virgin plane which landed half an hour later by three minutes.

All three flights comfortably beat the previous record of five hours and 13 minutes, held by Norwegian since January 2018.

Although the BA plane was clocked apparently going faster than the speed of sound — 767 mph — it would not have breached the sonic barrier because it was being pushed by the air around it. Even when traveling at more than 800mph, the 747 was traveling much slower than the speed of sound relative to the air around it.

A spokesperson for BA said: “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.”

Storm Ciara made landfall in the United Kingdom over the weekend and has caused severe travel disruptions.

A company spokesperson told CNN that BA, like all other airlines operating flights into and out of the UK, was being affected by Storm Ciara — and had canceled some of its flights and merged others.

CNN’s Barry Neild contributed to this report

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