Qatar Airways is poised to resume the longest flight in its network and the second-longest scheduled flight in the world. From March 28, Qatar Airways will restart nonstop flights between Doha to Auckland. The 14,500 kilometer-plus flight takes up to 18 hours to complete. When it comes to covering big distances in a single leap, this Qatar Airways’ flight is second only to the Singapore Airlines 15,345 kilometer flight between Singapore and Newark.
Qatar Airways set to fly nonstop to Auckland from March 2021
Right now, Qatar Airways is jetting into Auckland three times a week. But these flights operate via Brisbane in both directions.
The current service via Brisbane uses an Airbus A350-1000. These flights will continue as-is until the end of March. When the nonstop Auckland service resumes, the service will use Boeing 777-200LR aircraft.
Qatar Airways operates some different cabin configurations across its nine-strong fleet of Boeing 777-200LR planes. But the Auckland flights will see planes configured with Qatar’s benchmark business class product – the QSuite. The aircraft will feature 42 QSuites in a 1-2-1 layout and 230 economy class seats in a 3-3-3 layout.
On March 28, the first Qatar Airways Auckland-bound 777-200LR will push back from Doha at the eye-watering hour of 03:15 on Fridays and Sundays and 02:35 across the remaining five days of the week. The flight will land in Auckland between 04:00 and 05:00 the next day. Flying time on the eastbound flight is around 16.5 hours.
The return flight to Doha is more straightforward. Departing Auckland daily at a far more civilized 14:30, it will land in Doha at 23:30 on the same day – just in time for bed. You’ll need a good sleep after spending just under 18 hours on the westbound flight to Doha.
While this flight usually takes the second prize in terms of distance, Singapore Airlines’ service to Newark is not operating, and there are no signs of it resuming anytime soon. That should see this flight take the first prize for the world’s longest passenger flight – for a while, at least.
Long-haul flying one of the casualties of the travel downturn
Backside numbing ultra-long-haul flights like these are one of the casualties of the travel downturn.
The next longest flight is the Emirates run between Dubai and Auckland. This flight comes in at just under 14,200 kilometers and is operating, albeit on a reduced timetable. Emirates is currently operating three nonstop flights a week to Auckland.
Usually, the fifth-longest flight is the Singapore Airlines service between its Southeast Asian home base and Los Angeles. These flights are operating, again on a reduced schedule. Right now, Los Angeles is Singapore Airlines’ only North American destination.
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United Airlines usually snatches the sixth-longest flight spot with its convenient service between Houston and Sydney. This flight is suspended, but United has maintained flights between San Francisco and Sydney throughout 2020.
The seventh longest flight is the Qantas service between Sydney and Dallas. The daily A380 service is usually a big money spinner for Qantas, but it will be some time before Dallas sees another Qantas flight touching down.
Right now, five out of the top seven longest flights in the world are not operating. When Qatar Airways resumes its daily nonstop service to Auckland, that will reduce to four out of seven. While the resumption of daily nonstop flights is good news for Auckland Airport, by then, the ongoing crisis in aviation will be around 12 months old. Come March 2021, more than half of the world’s seven longest long-haul flights will remain out of action.