Last updated on March 27th, 2017
An aircraft is any machine that is able to fly by using support from the air. The concept of an aircraft and stories of manned flight go back many centuries; however, the first manned ascent – and safe descent – in modern times took place by hot-air balloon in the 18th century.
56 Interesting facts about airplanes and airlines
1. Established in 1919, KLM is the world’s oldest airline, while Quantas is the world’s second oldest.
2. As per Airports Council International’s year-to-date figures, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the U.S. is the world’s busiest airport.
3. You can power 480,000 32-inch flatscreen TVs with the total electrical capacity of a 747-8 aircraft.
4. If the distance covered by the entire fleet of Boeing 747s is added up, you could make 75,000 trips to the moon and back.
5. If you want to take the world’s longest flight, you would have to board the flight from Sydney to Dallas in an Airbus A380 aircraft.
6. Almost 30,000 flights take place in the U.S. every day. And more than two million passengers travel via aircraft every 24 hours.
7. And across the world, there are 200,000 flights airborne every day.
8. Some airlines mandate that the pilot and co-pilot eat different meals so as to avert the chances of simultaneous food poisoning to both these individuals who are in command of the aircraft.
9. Did you know one third of your taste buds become numb while you are flying? That is why food tastes different while you are on an airplane.
10. Out of the total number of airports in the world, one third are located in the U.S.
11. In 1999, Alaska Airlines introduced the online check-in option for the first time.
12. On an average, 61,000 people are airborne over the U.S. every hour.
13. Are you interested in learning how airplanes fly? As the airplane flies, the air pressure below and above the wings is different. The difference in the pressure keeps the airplane airborne. Technically, this difference of pressure is termed as “lift.”
14. Airplanes are an American invention. The duo of Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912) Wright invented and built the world’s first successful airplanes in 1903.
15. In 1977, two fully loaded planes with more than 600 passengers on board collided head-on on the middle of a runway, killing at least 500 passengers.
16. Military airplanes can be longer than the height of six-story buildings.
17. In 1920s and 1930s, pilots were given “Blunder Trophies” for making silly mistakes while operating airplanes.
18. Commercial airport runways can be 2-4 feet thick, and are filled with asphalt.
19. The Antonov AN-225 cargo jet is the largest plane in the world.
20. The U.S. airline industry makes about $170 billion each year in revenue.
21. And airlines around the world earn $640 billion in revenue every year.
22. Did you know that about 20% of people are afraid of flying?
23. Astonishingly, due to fatigue and improper rest, between 43% and 54% of pilots surveyed in Sweden, Norway and the U.K. admitted to have fallen asleep while flying a passenger jet. And furthermore, you will be scared to know that one third of these pilots found their co-pilots also sleeping when they woke up. This fact signifies the importance of rest, as well as good physical and mental health for the aviation crew.
24. The majority of commercial pilots are paid for the number of hours they fly and not on a monthly basis.
25. Although autopilot can be used during takeoffs and landings, it is not generally used. It takes control of the airplane most of the time except in cases of turbulence, take-offs and landings. The autopilot function helps achieve the best fuel efficiency.
26. In some cases, the pilot can dump fuel in order to make an emergency landing. This is done to avoid excessive weight of the aircraft while landing at places where suitable conditions might not exist. The dumped fuel, however, evaporates and does not reach the ground.
27. The Concorde, which is the world’s fastest airliner, was built by British and French engineers. It was the most successful commercial supersonic airplane.
28. A total of 20 Concordes were built. 14 of these flew commercially both for British Airways and Air France. Costs of operation and ownership were the main concern for other airlines, which never operated Concordes for these reasons.
29. All international airline pilots speak English, which is a prerequisite.
30. Delta Airlines is the world’s largest airline in terms of aircraft fleet.
31. The world’s largest runway is in China at the ‘Qamba Bamba’ Airport. It is 5.5. Kilometers in length.
32. Concerned about your safety during the flight? Choose Qantas airlines because it is the world’s safest airline. It has zero fatalities on record to date.
33. If you were looking for a lucrative business opportunity, you would be thrilled to know that in-flight catering is an $18-billion industry, and it employs more than 200,000 qualified and well-trained individuals to deliver the best services.
34. The place near the tail of an airplane is the safest to be in the event of a crash.
35. Sometimes small efforts can deliver big results. American Airlines is known to save $40,000 a year by simply eliminating one olive from each in-flight salad.