23 AUGUST 2021
© 2022 Business Travel News Ltd.
Exaggerated numbers carried by USAF Boeing C17 aircraft in the Kabul evacuation last week has meant some research by BTN on the largest number of people ever flown at one time.
Reports of 800 refugees were clearly inflated and whilst there are no official figures (and nobody really knows) up to 650 people were rescued with a single flight. The normal military troop capacity is 134.
According to the Guinness World Record the greatest number of passengers ever carried by a commercial airliner is 1,088 or thereabouts (there are conflicting reports of the final count), by an El Al Boeing 747-200 during Operation Solomon, which involved the evacuation of Ethiopian Jews from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and started on 24 May 1991. This figure included two babies born on the flight. The operation to evacuate the Ethiopian Jews continued non-stop for 36 hours involving a total of 34 El Al jumbo jets and Hercules C-130s – with seats removed to accommodate the maximum number of passengers.
The Airbus A380 is certified with up to 853 passengers although 525 was the normal maximum offered by any airline during its heyday, with a three-class layout, around 450 being typical.
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Graham Greenwood, United Kingdom
Why are 800 clearly inflated. Does anyone outside the US Airforce really know?