Back in August, Emirates announced that they’d launch the world’s longest flight, between Dubai and Panama City. The route was scheduled to commence on February 1, 2016, and would be 10 miles longer than the current longest flight in the world, which is Dallas to Sydney (8588 vs. 8578 miles).
The route would be operated by a Boeing 777-200LR, so the plane would have fairly limited capacity, with just 266 seats. While the route is a bit puzzling in terms of passenger demand, presumably the route would do fairly well with cargo, given that Panama is a shipping hub.
Rumor has it that Emirates will be delaying or canceling their new Dubai to Panama City route. Emirates has zeroed out all seat inventory on the route through March 31, 2016, meaning it’s not possible to buy a seat in any cabin through that date. Apparently bookings for the route were just that abysmal, which I suppose is to be expected when an airline cancels a route less than three weeks before launch.
It sure seems like Emirates may not have done the upfront work of establishing relationships with travel agents in the region and possibly setting up agreements with Copa, given that they’re presumably launching this route in hopes of serving destinations in Central America beyond Panama. I’ll be curious to see if this route ever launches. I certainly wouldn’t count on the March 31 launch date as of now either.
In the meantime, this means Qantas retains the title for the world’s longest flight.
The Gulf carriers are known for serving routes which don’t naturally have sufficient demand. For example, if you’ve flown Emirates from Dallas to Dubai, you may notice the planes are consistently half empty (which explains why they’re finally downgrading the route from an A380 to a 777). So I think it’s safe to assume that demand must have been really weak if Emirates is going so far as to delay the route. And if they haven’t figured it out now, I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t figure it out a couple of months later either.
Time will tell, I suppose!
What do you make of Emirates delaying their Dubai to Panama City route?