Qatar Airways To Launch World’s 2 Longest Flights

Presently the world’s three longest flights are Dallas to Sydney (Qantas), Johannesburg to Atlanta (Delta), and Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles (Etihad). Emirates has the intentions of launching a route between Dubai and Panama City, which would be the world’s longest, as it’s 10 miles further than Dallas to Sydney. However, that route has already been delayed by two months due to abysmal sales on it, so we’ll see if the route actually ever gets off the ground.

The Bahrain Air Show is this week, and Qatar Airways’ always-amusing CEO, Akbar Al Baker, made one especially interesting claim. Via Arabian Business, Qatar Airways wants to launch flights between Doha and Santiago, Chile, and Auckland, New Zealand, using Boeing 777-200LR aircraft.

Auckland-New-Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand

If these new routes happen, they’d be the world’s two longest flights by a long shot (nearly 500 miles):

  • Doha to Santiago: 8,966 miles
  • Doha to Auckland: 9,032 miles

Qatar-SCL-AKL

Emirates doesn’t even fly nonstop from the Middle East to New Zealand, as they instead operate their New Zealand flights with one stop service through Australia.

But are ~9,000 mile nonstop flights even realistic? Qatar Airways has only nine 777-200LRs, so they’d have to take them off other routes, as these two flights would require four of them.

Qatar-Airways-777
Qatar Airways 777-200LR

Furthermore, is this flight even within the operating range of the plane? According to Wikipedia, the 777-200LR has a range of 8,555nm, which is ~9,800 miles. These routes would both be very close to the limits when you factor in winds, the need for additional fuel, etc. I suppose it’s possible these flights will be operated as “tag” services from their existing South America and Australia flights, though the article makes it seem like both of these flights will be nonstop.

Qatar’s 777s feature their older business class product, with a 2-2-2 configuration. It’s a perfectly fine business class product, though not nearly as good as what’s offered on their A350s, A380s, and 787s. For what it’s worth, the 777 is the first plane which is supposed to get Qatar’s new “super business class,” if/when that actually happens.

Qatar-Airways-777-1
Qatar Airways 777 business class

Bottom line

Qatar Airways launching the world’s two longest flights would be interesting, as they’d even beat Emirates with nonstop service between the Middle East and New Zealand. On one hand, Qatar’s CEO made a very specific statement, while on the other hand he’s known to be a big talker. I’ll be curious to see if this route actually comes to fruition… I’ll believe them after the inaugural flights land! 😉

Do you think Qatar Airways will launch flights to Santiago and/or Auckland?

Comments

  1. If they do these flights, then British Airways might as well try for non-stop service from Perth to London.
    That is only 9009 miles

  2. Both routes are a fair bit shorter than Singapore-New York which SQ has previously flown with an A340-500 and will be restarting with an A350-900ULR in 2018. QR has a fair number of A350s still on order, so maybe they’ll switch a few to the ULR variant.

  3. Going to Santiago would make sense to connect with oneWorld LAN flights and have good feed – that might actually make sense, unlike Emirates going to Panama City. Flying to Auckland thou? New Zealand traffic can’t sustain that flight and there is no oneWorld partner to connect to…

  4. You’re reporting max range at MTOW. A more premium/less dense configuration and/or not carrying the maximum amount of cargo would yield longer range. I’ve always believed the 77L is underutilized on what could be some high yield direct routes — particularly when oil prices are what they are now…

  5. If QR can make the AKL flight happen, thy would have a competitive advantage over EK in that it makes reaching Europe on QR require only one connection. Not sure if the market is big enough to justify it, though. There is (limited) OW connectivity in AKL on Qantas to other NZ cities.

  6. Qatar has always be more worried about bragging rights that profitability or common sense. This is a low demand route in anyone’s book. I see the biggest monkey wrench to these plans is Singapore’s talk of restarting its direct route from L.A. not financial viability. If Qatar can’t hold the bragging rights they will kill the route, if they can keep the bragging rights they will keep the route even if it means flying less than full every time.

  7. Oil low now. Oil will be $50 when they launch and $100+ when they are 1 year into the routes since Trump will throw the U.S. into war etc. Then it will be canceled.

  8. @MarfaTXetc…Good luck with that oil bump any time soon my friend. Better go long now if you actually believe any of what you write. Not me, buddy. KSA will keep pumping while oppressing their own people.

  9. I have a feeling that the AKL – DOH will have a stop in Sydney when QR commences SYD flights. If that is not the plan sooner or later it might, as I can’t see a big enough market filling up the aircraft to and from AKL direct.

  10. Maybe that is the reason why Qatar keeps the 3-3-3 9 abreast arrangement in 77Ls!

    Doha to Auckland will be an interesting experiment.

    Adrian

  11. Yes, agree, won’t fill up easy so stop in Sydney, even that route SYD-AKL is maxed out with TZ, LAN, EK, QF, JQ, VA and probably another one or two I am not aware of. Have you seen J abnd F fares on this route, so low, they are all struggling to fill oh and Aerolineas Argentinas ( don’t know their code ) and don’t plan to find out soon LOL

  12. Why is the likely flight time of those routes? That’s what would concern me as a passenger more than distance.

  13. The SCL route might stop in EZE and actually make the EZE-DOH route nonstop (currently its EZE-GRU-DOH). Anyway, QR’s 77Ls are not very densely arranged, they can easily manage these long routes.

  14. I would like to fly one of the Middle Eastern airlines someday either First or Bus just to see what it would be like and I suppose the loger the flight the better ? 🙂 Good report Ben

  15. Don’t confuse nautical miles with statute miles — 777L can do these without a problem.

    Currently, Qatar serves GRU, but not GIG. It would surprise me if they started nonstop to DOH from SCL or EZE before starting nonstop service to GIG — which is a major oil capital, a significant hedge fund City (especially those with ME connections), has the Olympics coming up, and is a much larger larger City.

  16. @Robbo TZ doesn’t fly to NZ.

    AKL-SYD route currently has NZ, QF, VA, JQ, EK, LA and CI. AR used to fly it but stopped several years ago (initially to fly EZE-SYD nonstop and then that too was dropped). There have been plenty of other airlines in the past.

    Other fifth freedom trans-Tasman routes are

    CNS-AKL with PR
    BNE-AKL with EK, CI
    MEL-AKL with EK
    SYD-CHC with EK, CI
    MEL-CHC with CI

  17. And EK have commenced their own DXB-AKL non-stop using the A380 for the inaugural & continuing with the 77L.

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