by Angus Whitley
The world’s longest commercial flight covered the 14,535 kilometers (9,030 miles) between Doha and Auckland, as Qatar Airways became the latest carrier to bet on demand for marathon, non-stop services.
The Boeing Co. 777 touched down early Tuesday in New Zealand, Qatar Airways said in a statement. The flight was scheduled to take about 17.5 hours.
The straight-line distance of Qatar’s flight edges out Gulf rival Emirates, which flies to the same city from Dubai. Singapore Airlines Ltd. is likely to beat them both when it restarts direct services to New York once Airbus makes a lighter A350-900 plane available in 2018.
There’s some dispute about who currently holds the longest-flight title. Air India Ltd. flies between Delhi and San Francisco, a direct distance of about 8,264 miles, but takes a roundabout route of more than 9,000 miles to avoid headwinds.
Qantas Airways Ltd., Australia’s biggest airline, plans to start direct flights between Perth in Western Australia and London in March 2018 using a Boeing Dreamliner. The 17-hour trip spans about 14,470 kilometers.