Qatar Airways is going where no carrier has gone before in terms of long-haul distances by flying non-stop for over 9,000 miles.
The Gulf air company has announced that it is seeking permission to introduce the world’s longest direct flight from its capital, Doha to Auckland in New Zealand – a 9,034 mile trip that will see passengers in the air for an estimated 18 hours and 34 minutes.
Should it get approval, the new route will outstrip the current longest distance – flown by Qantas from Dallas to Sydney – by around 500 miles. Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker told Bloomberg Business that his airline also planned to fly from Doha to Santiago in Chile which is just 44 miles short of another 9,000 mile journey. The Daily Telegraph reports that no launch date has yet been set for that route, or for others planned to Phuket, Lisbon and Marrakesh.
The Daily Mail claims that if the Doha-Auckland and Doha-Santiago routes get the green light, it will give Qatar the distinction of having the two longest long-haul flights in the world. The carrier will use Boeing 777-200LR planes on the routes, which accommodate 42 passengers in its business class section and 217 in economy.
The announcement comes as a number of airlines seek to add long-haul routes to their schedules. Emirates were due to fly from Dubai to Panama City from next month but that has now been deferred to March. Singapore Airlines has also signalled its intention to embark on flights between Singapore and New York and has ordered a new ultra-long-range version of the Airbus A350. The first of these is expected to arrive in two years time.
Currently, Delta Air Lines flies from Johannesburg to Atlanta on a 8,439 mile journey that takes 16 hours and 40 minutes to complete. Other long flights currently in existence are Eithad Airways Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles route which is 8,390 miles and takes sixteen and a half hours. The Emirates fly from Dubai to LA as well, a slightly shorter trip of 8,339 miles which takes five minutes longer to complete.