Qatar Airways has taken the title for the world's-longest-flight title with a 14,535-kilometre service linking Doha with Auckland that touched down in New Zealand's biggest city on Tuesday
The route adds 322km to the record Emirates established last year by virtue of Doha's location further west than Dubai. Singapore Airlines's planned resumption of direct flights from its home hub to New York in 2018 would comfortably beat both services, with a distance of more than 1500 km.
Qatar Air will serve Auckland daily using 259-seat Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, with the flight taking about 17 1/2 hours. While demand will come chiefly from Europe, the carrier also expects to attract passengers from the US East Coast, even with the long journey time, Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said at a press briefing after the first service touched down.
Qatar Air also serves Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth in Australia, with seat occupancy rates typically running above 85 per cent, and plans to add flights to Canberra next February. Al Baker said it's open to cooperation with a local carrier for onward flights from Auckland following the termination of an existing arrangement with Air New Zealand.
See also: Airline review: Qatar Airways
Qantas plans to start direct flights between Perth and London in March 2018 using a Boeing 787. That trip spans 14,498 km, according to the Great Circle Mapper website.
Direct flights from northwest Europe to the southeast of Australia remain beyond the range of the most modern jets with a full passenger load, though they may be possible in a few years with Boeing's upgraded 777X series. Even then, Europe-Auckland is likely to remain too much of a stretch.
There's some confusion regarding the longest-flight title following Air India's switch to a trans-Pacific route between Delhi and San Francisco in order to avoid trans-Atlantic headwinds and reduce travel times. While the service spans more than 14,400km, the cities are actually only 12,402 km apart -- more than 2900 km closer than Doha and Auckland.
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