Friday, February 5, 2016

Two new flights will be world's longest

Dubai-based Emirates is about to claim the distinction of operating the world’s longest direct flights by both duration and distance when it launches new routes next month.

On March 1, the airline will introduce non-stop service from Dubai (DXB), U.A.E., to Auckland International Airport (AKL) in New Zealand. Westbound flights from AKL to DXB will become the longest scheduled passenger flight by duration, at an estimated 17 hours, 15 minutes. At 8,825 miles, the route will also be the longest scheduled passenger flight by distance.

The new ultra-long-haul flights will be 20 minutes longer than the flight that is currently the world’s longest by duration. Operated by Australia’s Qantas, the flight from Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) to Sydney (SYD), Australia takes 16 hours, 55 minutes to traverse the 8,578-mile route.

On May 31, the airline will introduce another new ultra-long-haul route that will include even longer flight times. New service connecting DXB to Panama City, Panama’s Tocumen International Airport (PTY) will include westbound flights that take 17 hours, 20 minutes to cover the 8,588 mile route according to Emirates’ website.

By definition, ultra-long-haul flights are non-stop flights that require more than 12 hours to complete. Such flights are typically made by wide-body aircraft such as the Boeing (NYSE:BA) 777-200LR, the Airbus A380-800 or the Airbus A340-500.

Emirates Boeing 777-200LR
Emirates will operate a Boeing (NYSE:BA) 777-200LR aircraft on its new routes. That aircraft, which has a range of 10,900 miles when fully loaded, will be configured in a three-class layout with eight open first-class suites, 42 business-class seats and 216 economy seats.

According to SeatGuru.com, the first-class suites include seats that are 23 inches wide and convert to 78-inch long lie-flat beds. Business-class seats are 20.5 inches wide with 60 inches of pitch while economy seats are 17 inches wide with 33 to 34 inches of pitch.

Despite the double-header, Emirates may not have the honor of operating the longest flight for very long if another Middle East carrier has its way. The CEO of Doha-based Qatar Airways revealed at the Bahrain Air Show in January that a non-stop route between Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Doha and Auckland is in the offing as part of the carrier’s latest expansion plans.

While no date for the new service has been announced, the 9,034 mile journey would take an estimated 18 hours, 34 minutes. If the route goes forward, the flight time would exceed Qantas’ DFW-SYD flight by more than an hour and a half.

As long as the operating and proposed flights are, they are not record-setting. That honor goes to Singapore Airlines’ direct flights between New York and Singapore (SIN). At 9,535 miles and a travel time of 18 hours, 50 minutes, that flight held the record until the route was discontinued in 2013. However, Singapore has reportedly shown an interest in resuming the service in 2018.

As of this writing, the world’s 10 longest direct passenger flights by duration are as follows, according to WikiPedia:
  1. Dallas-Sydney, Qantas, 8,578 miles (16h 55m)
  2. Johannesburg-Atlanta, Delta, 8,439 miles (16h 40m)
  3. Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles, Etihad, 8,390 miles (16h 30m)
  4. Dubai-Los Angeles, Emirates, 8,339 miles (16h 35m)
  5. Jeddah-Los Angeles, Saudia, 8,332 miles (16h 55m)
  6. Doha-Los Angeles, Qatar Airways, 8,306 miles (16h 25m)
  7. Dubai-Houston, Emirates, 8,168 miles (16h 20m)
  8. Abu Dhabi-San Francisco, Etihad, 8,158 miles (16h 15m)
  9. Dallas-Hong Kong, American Airlines, 8,123 miles (16h 20m)
  10. Dubai-San Francisco, Emirates, 8,103 miles (15h 50m)
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Photo provided by Emirates
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