Multiple Airlines Vying For World's Longest Flight

28 January 2016
Read Time: 1.4 mins

Qatar Airways may be set to launch the world’s longest direct flight, after it was revealed that a non-stop route between Doha and Auckland is part of its latest expansion plans.

Should the new route go ahead, the 14,539-kilometre journey will take an estimated 18 hours and 34 minutes, a journey time that exceeds the current longest scheduled passenger flight – Qantas’s Dallas to Sydney route – by nearly two hours. This takes 16 hours and 55 minutes to cover a distance of 13,805 kilometres.

Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-200LR Passengers board a Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-200LR, which may be used for the new Auckland and Santiago routes (Image: Kamran Jebreili/AP)

The Qantas flight itself is set to be overtaken sooner, when Emirates launches a new route from Dubai to Panama City on 31 March. The Emirates flight will take 17 hours 41 minutes, however it will be beaten to the top spot by the proposed Qatar route.

Singapore Airlines has also shown an interest in re-scheduling its direct flights between New York and Singapore in 2018, which, at 15,345 kilometres and a journey time of 18 hours 50 minutes, held the record until the route was discontinued in 2013.

Reports that Qatar Airways could be set to launch a record-breaking flight emerged during the Bahrain air show last week, when Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker said it planned to launch new ultra-long haul flights to Auckland and Santiago.

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Akbar Al Baker Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker talking to journalists about his airline’s plans, during the January 2016 Bahrain air show (Image: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters)

Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker talking to journalists about his airline’s plans, during the January 2016 Bahrain air show. Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

The airline will use the Boeing 777-200LR aircraft for the new routes, which can seat 217 passengers in economy class and 42 in premium and has a range of 17,541 kilometres, fully loaded.

Current world’s longest direct passenger flights

  1. Dallas-Sydney, Qantas, 13,805 km (16h 55m)
  2. Johannesburg-Atlanta, Delta, 13,581 km (16h 40m)
  3. Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles, Etihad, 13,502 km (16h 30m)
  4. Dubai-Los Angeles, Emirates, 13,420 km (16h 35m)
  5. Jeddah-Los Angeles, Saudia, 13,409 km (16h 55m)
  6. Doha-Los Angeles, Qatar Airways, 13,367 km (16h 25m)
  7. Dubai-Houston, Emirates, 13,145 km (16h 20m)
  8. Abu Dhabi-San Francisco, Etihad, 13,129 km (16h 15m)
  9. Dallas-Hong Kong, American Airlines, 13,072 km (16h 20m)
  10. Dubai-San Francisco, Emirates, 13,041 km (15h 50m)

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This article was written by Will Coldwell from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Will Coldwell

I am a junior reporter on The Guardian travel desk. Previously I wrote extensively for The Guardian, The Independent and other national publications as a freelance feature writer and reporter. I have a radio show on London Fields Radio called The Soul Report and DJ funk, soul and hip hop under the name Royale.