MIAMI — Emirates has chosen Panama as its fourth destination in Latin America. The Dubai-based carrier has announced today the plans to launch a daily service to Panama City as of February 1st, 2016, -the longest non-stop flight in the world with a 17 hour 35 minutes westbound leg.
Currently, the longest non-stop scheduled airline flight is Qantas Flight QF8 from Sydney to Dallas-Ft. Worth, operated by an Airbus A380-800, and with a distance of 8,577 miles (13,804km). This new route operated by Emirates will beat the current route by just 11 miles (18km), with a distance of 8,588 miles (13,822km). Interestingly, the carrier currently operates four ultra-long-range routes from its base in Dubai to Dallas-Ft. Worth (8,040 miles, 12,940km), San Francisco (8,103 miles, 13,041km), Houston (8,168 miles, 13,144km) and Los Angeles (8,339 miles, 13,420km), all of them served by its Airbus A380 fleet.
“Panama City will be our first destination gateway in Central America, providing a convenient option for our passengers traveling from or through our global hub in Dubai and onward to destinations throughout Central America, the Caribbean and the northern part of South America,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group. “We’re also pleased to be the only commercial airline to offer a daily, First Class service to travelers on what will be the world’s longest non-stop flight.”
Flights will be operated by a Boeing 777-200LR in a 3-class layout, with seating for 266 passengers. The airline has highlighted in a press release that the cargo capacity of 15 tonnes will allow the airline to transport key import products such as pharmaceuticals, machinery products, iron / steel products and electronics.
Emirates also holds the distinction of being the largest Airbus A380-800 and Boeing 777 operator in the world. Actually, Emirates has being an operator of all triple seven variants, including the freighter version through its division Emirates SkyCargo.
“It is gratifying to see how diplomatic efforts focused on generating development and prosperity for Panama materialize,” said Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado, Vice President of the Republic of Panama. “New doors to the country will open with a direct connection to the Middle East – a strong and thriving region with great synergies to both Panama and Latin America.”
According to IATA, Latin America is home to more than 8% of the world’s population yet only accounts for 5% of all global air traffic, largely due to the lack of adequate infrastructure. Panama has addressed this issue not only by investing in a major expansion and renovation program of Tocumen Panama City Airport, but also favoring the growth of Copa Airlines, one of the leading airlines in Latin America.
The results are evident: Panama is now among the top 35 countries in the world for the quality of their air transport infrastructure, and Tocumen, appropriately dubbed the “Hub of the Americas,” is currently offering scheduled service to over 80 destinations. In the last five years, the airport has seen a constant annual passenger traffic growth that averages 12.5%. reaching the 8.5 million mark in 2014.
The strategic location of Panama between North and South America and between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, provide Emirates a privileged location that will enable its travelers to bypass traditional connection points such as Miami, New York, London or Amsterdam, with access to the vast global network of over 140 destinations served by the airline.
“This new direct flight between Dubai and Panama City will connect Latin America with the Middle East, Asia and Africa,” explained Eduardo Fonseca Ward, Consul General of the Republic of Panama, in Dubai. “This link will generate a broader global network with countless commercial and cultural opportunities for the two regions. It has been a pleasure to work with the Emirates team, who have shared the vision of Panama and Dubai as hubs of trade, prosperity and hope.”