Cruise Speed

Airbus A319 Jet Charter

The cruise speed of an aircraft is the average jet speed attained once the aircraft is no longer climbing en route to its destination.

What does max cruise speed mean?

On average, an aircraft typically flies at 85 percent of its top speed when it reaches its cruise speed. Max cruise speed, would be 100 percent of its top speed, and when an aircraft reaches its max cruise speed, this is when the most fuel consumption occurs.

Cruise speed, on the other hand, is the average speed an aircraft reaches once the aircraft is no longer climbing. Imagine setting the cruise control on your car once you reach a desired highway speed. The cruise speed of an aircraft is very similar.

What is the difference between top speed and cruising speed?

Top speed is the fastest speed an aircraft can reach. This isn’t usually maintained as it isn’t very fuel efficient and it can cause undue wear and tear on an aircraft. Cruising speed is the average speed an aircraft flies at once it’s finished its ascent.

Reaching Peak Performance

Commercial and passenger aircraft are designed for peak performance at their cruise speed. However, there are some factors that can affect the performance desired while maintaining average jet speed. Some of these factors include:

  • Payload (the weight of passengers, crew and cargo)
  • Center of gravity
  • Humidity
  • Speed
  • Temperature

Cruise Speed of Common Aircraft

On average, the typical cruising speed of a large commercial aircraft, like a Boeing 747, is somewhere between 475 and 500 knots (roughly 575 mph). So what is the cruising speed of a 747? Depending on passenger load, the average cruise speed of a 747 is 490 nautical miles or Mach 0.85.

In comparison, a Cessna Citation X, boasts a cruising speed of 604 mph. This typically private jet is the undisputed king of speed. Because of it’s ability to fly so quickly, it can make the flight from New York to Los Angeles in less than four hours.

Is cruising speed a velocity?

When an aircraft maintains its cruise speed, it can also be called the cruise velocity.

How is cruise speed calculated?

The average cruise speed of an aircraft can be found in the specs or performance charts. When determining the cruise speed of an aircraft several factors are involved, including:

  • Atmosphere temperature
  • Wind direction and speed
  • Altitude
  • The aircrafts performance
  • The speed of sound, and more

And when you look at the relative velocity of the wind and apply it against the in-flight cruising speed, you can determine the ground speed of an aircraft.


At Stratos, we’ve been in the industry of providing the safest, most reliable private jet charters to clients for almost 20 years. We’re proud to provide our clients with honest, transparent information every time we connect and will always recommend the most suitable aircraft for every mission. Reach out to a private flight advisor for a free quote today! 

Are you ready to book your best charter flight yet?

Our friendly, expert private flight advisors are here to answer questions or start your quote today. Don`t wait, call right now and we can get you on your way to the destination of your choice!

888-593-9066Call Now!
Back to top