With Qatar Airways having launched its new 17.5-hour non-stop flight between Doha and Auckland yesterday, the list of longest commercial flights has had a bit of a shake up.
Former title-holder Emirates appears to have been unseated, yet Qatar Airways’ position at the top may not be as secure as it seems, with new ultra-long-haul routes in the wings and other existing flights technically flying greater distances in a shorter time.
That said, here are some of the current and soon-to-emerge ultra-long-haul flights that are at the top of the list.
FLIGHT DURATION 17 hours 30 minutes
FLIGHT DISTANCE 14,535 kilometres
FLIGHT NUMBER QR921
AIRCRAFT Boeing 777-200LR
The flight that has secured Qatar Airways the crown for now, QR921 is the longest commercial flight by time returning from Auckland to Doha. The flight from Doha to New Zealand’s most populous city, meanwhile, is approximately one hour shorter.
FLIGHT DURATION 17 hours 20 minutes
FLIGHT DISTANCE 14,200 kilometres
FLIGHT NUMBER EK449
AIRCRAFT Airbus A380
A similar route that previously gave Emirates the title of longest commercial flight prior to Qatar Airways’ new service. Dubai is slightly closer to Auckland than Doha, making the flight that little bit shorter in both duration and distance. Emirates recently upgauged to an A380 on the route, replacing the B777-200LR that previously operated the route.
ROUTE Delhi-San Francisco
FLIGHT DURATION 14 hours 30 minutes
FLIGHT DISTANCE 15,110 kilometres
FLIGHT NUMBER AI173
Air India’s Delhi-San Francisco is perhaps the longest commercial flight by distance covered – not specifically to do with the distance between the destinations but the route the airline takes. Originally flying a shorter route over the Atlantic Ocean, the airline switched to a longer trans-Pacific route in October, according to Forbes. The Pacific Ocean route is about 2,000 kilometres longer but takes almost two hours less time to fly due to more favourable tailwinds.
ON THE HORIZON
FLIGHT DURATION Approximately 17 hours
FLIGHT DISTANCE 14,498 kilometres
FLIGHT NUMBER TBC
AIRCRAFT B787-9 Dreamliner
LAUNCHING March 2018
Originally taking four days and nine stops when Qantas first began flying the “Kangaroo Route” in 1947, Qantas’ Perth-London non-stop flight is due to take about 17 hours when it launches in March 2018. Qantas lost its position as titleholder of the world’s longest commercial flight when Emirates’ Auckland to Dubai flight unseated Qantas’ Dallas-Sydney flight. And with a distance of 14,498 kilometres, Qantas’ new London flight would have regained it the title from Emirates, were it not for Qatar Airways’ newly launched route.
FLIGHT DURATION 18-19 hours
FLIGHT DISTANCE 15,344 kilometres
FLIGHT NUMBER TBC
Originally operated by the only aircraft that could make the journey, the A340-500, Singapore Airlines scrapped its Singapore-Newark route in 2013, due in large part to the fuel-intensive nature of the aircraft. However in October 2015, the airline said it would resume the route – which takes between 18 and 19 hours – in 2018 using an A350-900ULR. At 15,344 kilometres, the route is reportedly the longest non-stop commercial route ever, according to Bloomberg.