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Up to 4 Hours: The World’s Longest 50-Seat Bombardier CRJ Routes

All-economy, 50-seat regional jets often elicit much comment – and rarely in a positive way. While far less used nowadays because of the greater US scope clause and very poor economics that require very high loads and fares, CRJ-100s/-200s (like Embraer 145s) are obviously mainly deployed on short hops. Yet even in summer 2023, they operate some surprisingly long non-stop routes. (This article does not look at multi-class, 50-seat CRJ-550s.)

The longest CRJ-100/-200 routes

Using OAG and cross-referencing, where possible, with Flightradar24 and airline websites, the world’s longest small CRJ route this July-August (by distance) is operated by Russian carrier UVT Aero:

Miles (km)RoutingAirlineJuly-August flightsMax block time*
1,558 (2,525)Nizhny Novgorod to TomskUVT AeroTwice-weekly4h
1,500 (2,414)Kazan to Gorno-AltayskUVT AeroTwice-weekly4h
1,438 (2,314)Nairobi to SayunAfrican ExpressWeekly4h
1,431 (2,304)Kazan to KemerovoUVT AeroTwice-weekly3h 40m
1,423 (2,290)Lusaka to Cape TownProflight ZambiaTwice-weekly3h 30m
* Either direction

According to ch-aviation.com, UVT Aero has seven CRJ-200ERs, in an all-economy, 50-seat config. The world’s longest route is even more unusual because it operates overnight. On Fridays, flight RT252 leaves Nizhny Novgorod at 02:00 and arrives at 09:50 local. On Sundays, RT581 leaves at 21:20 and arrives at 05:20+1. Fancy that?

Number five is new

Notice Proflight Zambia between the country’s capital, Lusaka, and Cape Town. Covering 1,423 miles (2,290 km), it launched on July 1st and uses single-class, 50-seat CRJ-200LRs, of which the airline has two.

According to Cirium, the two cities were last served in 2012 by defunct Zambian carrier Zambezi Airlines. While Boeing 737-500s were used via Livingstone in both directions, it is now non-stop – by a much smaller aircraft.

Proflight Zambia was attracted to Cape Town because it was Lusaka’s largest unserved African market in 2019. According to booking data, it had approximately 21,000 roundtrip passengers, almost all of whom inevitably flew via Johannesburg. Cape Town is Proflight’s third destination in South Africa, joining Durban and Johannesburg.

Twice-weekly, 3h 30m

Operating on Tuesdays and Fridays, flight P050 leaves Lusaka at 08:00 and arrives at 11:30, a 3h 30m block time. This includes taxi time at both ends, flight time, and time for short delays. If these things were not included, it would always be late. Returning, P051 departs at 12:15 and arrives home at 15:35, 3h 20m later.

No US route?

While such small RJs revolve around the US, flights by them have reduced considerably in recent years as regional carriers upgauged as permitted under US scope clause agreements. The carriers now favor much more premium, multi-class, and larger alternatives, with much better economics.

According to OAG, the longest CRJ-100/-200 scheduled flight in the US this July-August is United Express between San Luis Obispo and Denver. It is only available in that direction (not from Denver), meaning it originates in San Francisco.

Some 931 miles (1,499 km), well short of being in the top five list, there are just two flights: July 1 and August 1. On August 1, it will leave at 14:40 and arrive in Colorado at 18:23 local – a 2h 43m block.

Source: Simple Flying