When I started learning to operate PMDG 777 I needed short routes for my training flights. To keep them realistic I looked for the shortest routes real 777s fly.
When I started PMDG 777 series a reader asked me: “how do you find time for so many flights”. My answer was – “I fly short routes”.
Paris-London – training and special flights
On of the most famous short routes flown by large airliners connects Paris and London (Charles de Gaulle – Heathrow). In peak season 777s and Airbuses A380 were hauling passengers and giving fresh crews an opportunity to get more experience with new planes before starting long-haul service.
There was (almost) no economical reason to put these planes on Paris-London route – Eurostar trains are a strong competition and usually can take passengers from on city to another a little faster (from city center to city center). The main reason behind putting these planes on this route was training, which could be intensified.
It’s not the only training route that was used. When Polish Airlines bought their first 787 it flew to Prague, Vienna, Munich, Frankfurt, Hanover, Kiev, Budapest and Brussels.
For LOT regional flights of 787 were equally important as a crew training method and as a marketing stunt that introduced the 787 to their customers.
Similarly Lufthansa used it’s brand new 747-8 to bring German Football Team for UEFA European Championship 2012 – they flew from Germany to Poland…
With multiple hub airports, several large airlines and millions of travelers passing through Persian Gulf is a perfect spot to create short routes for large planes. Poor transportation conditions on land only help.
Emirates fly 777-300ER between Dubai and Kuwait. This flights last about an hour and 15 minutes. 777-300ER of this airline fly also to Bahrain (flight time – less than an hour), Pakistan and Iran (in both cases – about two hour flights).
Saudia uses 777 between Jiddah, Riyadh and Damman. Even Riyadh-Cairo flights (2,5 hours) may be considered short in a plane that can fly for more than 10 hours.
The shortest regular connection where 777 flew was Abu Dhabi – Dubai (Emirates again). It’s less than 100 miles.
Japan can be an inspiration with many domestic routes for 747s and 777s.
Korean Air Lines fly 777 between Seoul and Hong Kong. They also fly to Japan.
A plane that is only slightly smaller (Airbus A330) flies between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The flight takes about half an hour!
Flights between stopovers are another kind of short routes. For example – Lauda Air flew Vienna-Miami route with a stopover in Munich. Long range flights originating in Kilimanjaro Airport (Arusha, Tanzania) usually land at one of nearby hubs before returning to Europe.
If you think about realistic operations (and I presume you do – PMDG is all about realism) you probably consider a sense of the route you choose. It is a little weird to fly… for example from Burkina Faso to Chad in a 777-300. But it’s a entirely different story if you fly a cargo plane. There are no passengers who travel from one city to another. In cargo plane you move freight – and the only think that counts is – will our employer get new order?
To show you an interesting example – huge An-124 took off from Katowice, Poland (EPKT) to land half hour later in Rzeszów (EPRZ). It was taking some helicopters and equipment to Algeria. Your 777F will look great at every airport that can fit such a large plane.
PMDG 777 on short routes
Short routes allowed me to quickly learn how to operate PMDG 777. I mostly flew in Western U.S. – mostly between San Francisco, Phoenix and lately also Palm Springs (777 barely fit’s there).
Short routes teach you to act fast. You will not have and hour of two to think, plan and prepare. Just after take-off you will need to think about arrival and landing.
There is an additional advantage of flying short routes – you can quickly compare aircraft handling characteristics at various weights. PMDG 777 is great in this respect – you will clearly feel whether you fly a heavy or a light aircraft.