MIAMI — Qatar Airways launched on Sunday its new service to Auckland, setting a new record as the world’s longest scheduled flight.
The aircraft, a 259-seat Boeing 777-200LR (A7-BBB • MSN 36013 • LN 762), crossed 10 time zones before landing early Monday morning, Auckland time, 16 hours and 20 minutes after taking off from Doha, covering a distance of 7,848 nautical miles, according to The New Zealand Herald.
The return flight, which departed Monday afternoon Auckland time will take even longer due to the prevailing headwinds: 17 hours and 30 minutes.
The airline’s chief executive Akbar Al Baker, who was aboard the flight, said “The launch of our new service to Auckland is an important milestone for Qatar Airways as we expand both in the region and globally across our network providing more options and better connections to exciting business and leisure destinations in Europe and the Middle East.”
Auckland is the first city in New Zealand to be served by Qatar Airways, joining Emirates Airline as the second Middle East carrier to offer a direct service to the country.
However, Qatar Airways will not hold this title for much longer, as Singapore Airlines is looking forward to regain the first place. The carrier used to offer the world’s longest flight—from Changi to Newark—and the slightly shorter Los Angeles service. The airline closed both routes in 2013 when fuel prices spiked and the operation of the Airbus A340-500 became unprofitable.
Singapore Airlines expects to resume such services, once it begins to take delivery of seven of the ultra-long-haul variant of the Airbus A350-900, dubbed the A350-900ULR.