World's longest flight route: Qatar plans Doha to Auckland direct flights

Middle Eastern airline Qatar Airways are planning to launch flights from Doha to Auckland, a route that would set new travel records.

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said the carrier would add ultra-long haul routes with new flights to Auckland using Boeing 777-LR aircraft, Bloomberg Business reported.

The comments were made during an interview at the Bahrain Air Show, the business news agency said.

If given the go-ahead, the non-stop flight between Doha and Auckland would become the longest in the world – eclipsing the current record holder by around 800km.

Travelmath puts the flight time between Doha and Auckland at around 18 hours and 34 minutes.

At present, the world's longest flight is Qantas' A380 long-haul from Sydney to Dallas. This will shortly be overtaken by Emirates' flight from Dubai to Panama City, taking off on February 1.

See: Airline review: Qantas A380 on the world's longest flight

Singapore Airlines also has plans to restart its former record-holding flight from Singapore to New York direct. The business-class only service would be flown by a new Airbus A350.

The Minister of Trade Tim Groser signed an open skies air services agreement with Qatar in September, providing improved air links between New Zealand and Gulf countries.

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"The opportunity now exists for Qatar Airways to serve New Zealand and this would be a welcome development," Groser said at the time.

An industry source confirmed Qatar Airways was planning the non-stop route between Doha and Auckland using a Boeing 777-LR.

Qatar was differentiating itself from competing Middle Eastern airline Emirates, which flies to Auckland via Australia.

In order to fly Doha-Auckland Qatar Airways would probably need to sacrifice the amount of freight it carried in order to lighten its load, the source said.

The service would target travellers flying between New Zealand and European cities such as Auckland-Doha-London or Auckland-Doha-Amsterdam. It was likely to be a daily service launching in time for the European spring and summer.

Qatar Airways' move was designed to offset the impact caused by delays in taking delivery of its first Airbus A320neo - and would also include a new route to Chile's capital Santiago, the report said.

Chile's national carrier LAN Airlines flies daily from Auckland to Santiago using a Boeing 787-9.

An Auckland International Airport spokesman could not comment on the Bloomberg report.

"We are in contact with a number of international airlines about the possibility of them flying to Auckland," the spokesman said.

Emirates has daily flights to Auckland from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane using Airbus A380 aircraft.

House of Travel commercial director Brent Thomas said Qatar Airways had long held aspirations to fly to New Zealand.

"It's a quality, quality airline," Thomas said.

Qatar Airways has won a long list of awards including Skytrax airline of the year in 2015, 2012 and 2011.

See: World's best airline named at annual awards

"They do come with a fantastic reputation."

Middle Eastern and South East Asian airlines were experiencing strong growth and continually looked for new routes, he said.

"New Zealand is on the radar for a lot of those services."

AirAsia is returning to New Zealand with daily flights from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland via the Gold Coast from March 22.

Philippine Airlines started flying to Auckland in December with a four times weekly service from Manila to Auckland via Cairns.

See also: The Qantas plane that flew from London to Sydney, non-stop

- Stuff.co.nz

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