Friday 23 March 2018

Qatar Airways announces plans for world's longest flight

Doha to Auckland

Qatar Airways. Photo: Deposit
Qatar Airways. Photo: Deposit

Oliver Smith

Fancy 18-and-a-half hours in economy? That could soon be possible if Qatar Airways gets its way.

The airline has announced plans to launch the world’s longest direct flight: a 9,034-mile schlep from Doha to Auckland.

Should the route get the green light, it would beat the current record holder – Qantas’s Dallas-Sydney service – by almost 500 miles.

The journey time would be an estimated 18 hours and 34 minutes, according to the journey planning website

Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, told Bloomberg Business that it was also hoping to fly from Doha to Santiago in Chile: a 8,956-mile journey, as well as launch new routes to Marrakech, Lisbon and Phuket, but no start dates have yet been announced.

The Qantas Dallas-Sydney service, which takes up to 16 hours and 55 minutes, will be overtaken by a new Emirates route from Dubai to Panama City on March 31. That journey will cover 8,595 miles and take approximately 17 hours 41 minutes.

Emirates and Qatar Airways will both use Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, which seats 217 passengers in economy class and 42 in premium, on their new ultra long-haul routes.

But the Middle Eastern pair could be topped in 2018 by Singapore Airlines.

The carrier recently expressed a desire to restore its direct New York-Singapore service, and the manufacturer Airbus is reportedly working on a variety of its A350-900 aircraft which would allow it do so more economically than before.

The journey from New York to Singapore, discontinued in November 2013, covers 9,535 miles and takes around 18 hours 50 minutes.

Singapore Airlines previously used an A340-500 on the route.

Meanwhile, United has said it will introduce daily flights from San Francisco to Singapore from June 2016, an 8,446-mile route.

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