Emirates has snatched the title of operating the world’s longest duration flight from Qantas Airlines. However, instead of flying from Dubai to Panama as the airlines had earlier promised, Emirates now flies a plane between Dubai and Auckland, New Zealand, covering a distance of nearly 9,000 miles, taking slightly more than 17 hours.
Less than six months after announcing it would claim the title of operating the world’s longest commercial route, from Dubai to Panama City, Emirates has decided to offer a nonstop service from Dubai to Auckland, New Zealand. At 17 hours 20 minutes, the flight covers a distance of 8,819 miles, which is still the longest route.
This non-stop flight will effectively dethrone Qantas Airlines, which operated a flight from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Sydney, reported Airways News. Covering a distance of 8,578 miles, the route will now be the second longest one. Interestingly, Qantas won’t be able to hold the No. 2 spot for more than a month. It will be bumped to the No. 3 slot, because Emirates will start operating the Dubai to Panama City route.
The Dubai to Panama City route was supposed to earn the title of world’s longest flight for Emirates, but it chose to launch the Dubai-Auckland flight first instead. Flights on this route are expected to begin operations on March 31. The No. 2 spot was originally claimed by Delta’s 8,434-mile nonstop route between Atlanta and Johannesburg, South Africa, which would effectively slide way down to the No. 4 slot, once Emirates starts operating flights on both the routes.
Before the race began, it was Singapore Airlines, the state carrier of Singapore that boasted of even longer duration flights, connecting the city-state to Newark. However, the carrier chose to shut down the services in 2013 citing cost inefficiency among other reasons.
The Dubai to Panama City flight covers a distance of 8,590 miles. As The Inquisitr had previously reported, it will beat Qantas’ flight distance by a mere 10 miles. Regardless of the rather negligibly short duration gap, Qantas takes slightly less than 17 hours, while Emirates will require 17 hours and 35 minutes. Hence the Dubai to Panama City would last longer than the 17-hour, 20-minute Auckland-to-Dubai flight in terms of time, if not distance. The Dubai to Panama City route is important for another reason, shared Emirates CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
“Panama City will be our first destination gateway in Central America, providing a convenient option for our passengers travelling from or through our global hub in Dubai and onward to destinations throughout Central America, the Caribbean and the northern part of South America. We’re also pleased to be the only commercial airline to offer a daily, first class service to travellers on what will be the world’s longest non-stop flight.”
Apparently, the delay to start operations could be blamed on the codeshare. Emirates couldn’t secure approval to codeshare with local carriers, reported Business Traveller. Copa Airlines operates a major connecting hub at Panama City. A codeshare pact will allow airlines to steer connecting passengers to each other’s flights on a single ticket. Such procedures not only save time of the passengers, but also allow airlines to fill up the seats that would otherwise go empty, piling up the costs.
Interestingly, there’s another player who has shown willingness to thrown in the hat in the race to capture the title of world’s longest duration flight. Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker said earlier this year that the carrier would soon launch nonstop flights from its Doha hub to both Auckland and Santiago, Chile. Those routes – if launched – would become the world’s longest, reported USA Today.
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