At 17-plus hours, this Qatar Airways flight from New Zealand is the world's longest

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 February, 2017, 1:54pm
UPDATED : Monday, 06 February, 2017, 10:34pm

Qatar Airways has launched its first service to Auckland, New Zealand with the return leg set to be the longest scheduled commercial flight by flying time.

Flight QR920 departed Doha's Hamed International Airport and arrived in Auckland on Monday at 7:15am local time, about 15 minutes early.

The Boeing 777 flight took 15 hours and 50 minutes, passing over 10 time zones, five countries and travelling 14,535 kilometres before reaching Auckland.

But even that flying time may be looked on jealously by passengers on the return flight which, due to high-altitude winds, was expected to take 17 hours and 30 minutes, according to the company website.

This would make it the world’s longest passenger service in terms of flying time, according to tracking website flightradar24.

Improvements in technology over the last decade have allowed more efficient fuel use, encouraging longer flights.

There were four pilots and 15 crew on the plane for Sunday’s flight.

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 2016.

Air-India has a longer flight by distance, spanning 15,298 kilometres from Delhi to San Francisco; this takes 14 hours and 30 minutes, according to the Times of India.

Singapore Airlines may regain the top spot when it resumes non-stop flights to New York with an ultra-long distance variant of the Airbus A350 as soon as 2018. It has said the New York service, at around 19 hours, will start in 2018.

Agence France-Presse, CNBC