World's longest flight touches down after crossing ten time zones
Qatar Airways has launched the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight, a 9,032-mile (14,535km) marathon from Doha to Auckland, New Zealand.
The inauguration of the colossal service took place Sunday, with the arrival of a Boeing 777-200LR in Auckland at 7.25am on Monday local time (625pm GMT on Sunday) - five minutes ahead of schedule.
The journey lasted 16 hours and 23 minutes and crossed 10 time zones, with Qatar Airways quick to point out that passengers on board would have had time to watch all three films in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (9 hours 18 minutes of viewing), which was shot in New Zealand.
It added that four pilots were on board, as well as 15 cabin crew, who served 1,100 hot drinks, 2,000 cold drinks and 1,036 meals to passengers.
Qatar Airways is set to start daily flights between Dublin and Doha from June 12, 2017, operated with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The title of “world’s longest flight” seems to be a sought-after accolade within the airline industry.
Last year, Air India appeared to have seized the mantle when it switched the direction of its Delhi-San Francisco service, flying over the Pacific instead of the Atlantic to take advantage of favourable jet streams (it still flies via the Atlantic on the return leg).
The change increased the journey’s total distance, according to Air India, from 8,673 miles (13,900km) to 9,506 miles (15,300km).
However, the distance between to two cities is only 7,668 miles (12,341km), according to Google Maps, compared to the 9,028 miles (14,529km) that separate Doha and Auckland, so Qatar Airways has a far more solid claim to the record.
The new route trumps its Middle Eastern rival Emirates, whose Dubai-Auckland service, launched in March last year, is a shade shorter at 8,824 miles (14,200km).
Both carriers will be gazumped should Singapore Airlines, as anticipated, relaunch its New York to Singapore service. The two cities are 9,521 miles (15,323km) apart, according to Google Maps.
The first non-stop flights between Britain and Australia, due to be launched by Qantas in March 2018, will fall just short of the new record. The total distance between London and Perth is 8,991 miles (14,470km).