Qatar Airways flight from New Zealand to be longest by flying time
The flight was expected to take 16 hours and 20 minutes and the return service, taking 17 hours and 30 minutes, would be the world’s longest
Qatar Airways launched its first service to Auckland, New Zealand on Sunday with the return leg set to be the longest scheduled commercial flight by flying time, according to the airline’s website.
Flight QR920 departed Doha’s Hamed International Airport, a spokeswoman confirmed, and was scheduled to arrive in Auckland on Monday at 0730 local time (1830 GMT).
The flight was expected to take 16 hours and 20 minutes and the return service, taking 17 hours and 30 minutes, would be the world’s longest, according to flight tracking website flightradar24.
The Boeing 777 flight will take 16 hours and 20 minutes, pass over 10 time zones, five countries and travel 14,535 kilometres (9,032 miles) before reaching Auckland, its first service to New Zealand, it said.
Improvements in technology over the last decade have allowed more efficient fuel use, encouraging longer flights.
But even that flying time may be looked on jealously by passengers on the return flight which, due to high-altitude winds, will take 17 hours and 30 minutes, according to the company website.
This will make it the world's longest passenger service in terms of flying time, according to tracking website flightradar24.
Qatar Airways did not immediately have a figure for the number of passengers who boarded on Sunday, but it is believed there are four pilots and 15 crew on the plane.
In March last year, Emirates airline launched what was then thought to be the world's longest non-stop scheduled commercial flight, with a service from Dubai to Auckland, spanning 14,200 kilometres (8,824 miles).
The previous record for the world’s longest scheduled flight by flying time was held by fellow Gulf carrier Emirates, which launched direct flights to Auckland from Dubai in March 2016.
Air India has a longer flight by distance, spanning 15,298 kilometers from Delhi to San Francisco; this takes 14 hours and 30 minutes, according to the Times of India.
Singapore Airlines may regain the top spot when it resumes non-stop flights to New York with an ultra-long distance variant of the Airbus A350 as soon as 2018. It has said the New York service, at around 19 hours, will start in 2018.