Dubai: The world’s new longest journey, which will cross ten time zones, is now on its way to New Zealand, after departing from the Middle East on Sunday.
Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight 920 started the first leg, a 16 hour and 20 minute non-stop trip to Auckland, New Zealand from Doha at 5.10am.
It will reach its destination at 7.30am on Monday and travel back to the Middle East for another 17 hours and 30 minutes, the longest commercial flight in the world in terms of flying time, according to Flightradar24. The whole trip with Boeing 777-200LR will clock up a total distance of 29,066 kilometres.
“Qatar’s Doha-Auckland route will surpass Emirates’ from Dubai as the longest route in the world by a combined 600 kilometres,” Flightradar24, which tracks air traffic in real time, said.
The Boeing aircraft is purpose-built for ultra-long journeys, offering 217 seats in economy and 42 in business class. It will carry 116 tonnes of cargo per week.
According to Auckland Airport, the new Doha-Auckland service will contribute $198 million a year to the New Zealand economy.
The new Doha-Auckland route was one of the new services announced by the airline in 2016 as part of its “significant network expansion” which also includes popular destinations like the Italian city of Pisa, as well as Helsinki in Finland; Marrakech in Morocco; Windhoek, Namibia and Seychelles, East Africa.
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) February 5, 2017
Tomorrow we welcome the inaugural @qatarairways flight QR920 from Doha!— Auckland Airport (@AKL_Airport) February 5, 2017