World's new longest flight takes off from Doha, Qatar
DUBAI: Qatar Airways launched its first service to Auckland, New Zealand yesterday with the return leg set to be the longest scheduled commercial flight by flying time, according to the airline's website.
Flight QR920 took off from Doha's Hamed International Airport and was scheduled to arrive in Auckland this morning, said the airline's spokesman.
The flight was expected to take 16hr 20min and the return service, taking 17hr 30min, would be the world's longest, according to flight tracking website flightradar24.
Qatar Airways is using a Boeing 777 on the 14,534km flight, it said.
Improvements in technology over the last decade have allowed more efficient fuel use, hence encouraging longer flights.
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 last year.
Air India has a longer flight by distance, spanning 15,298km from Delhi to San Francisco.
But this takes only 14hr 30min, reported the Times of India.
Singapore Airlines may regain the top spot when it resumes nonstop flights that will take around 19 hours to New York as soon as next year.
SIA had halted flights to New York in November 2013 over surging costs. - REUTERS