In late January I wrote about Qatar Airways’ announcement that they were planning on launching the world’s two longest flights, from Doha to Santiago, Chile, and Auckland, New Zealand. The announcement came from the airline’s CEO, who sometimes isn’t an especially accurate source, so I didn’t take the route as fact at the time.
Interestingly less than a week later, Emirates announced that they’d begin nonstop flights between Dubai and Auckland, which would launch on March 1, 2016. It sure seems like that new route was motivated (or at least fast-tracked) thanks to Qatar Airways’ announcement, since presumably Emirates wanted to beat Qatar to the punch.
Well, Emirates’ new underwhelming business class seat isn’t the only thing to come out of ITB Berlin. Qatar Airways’ CEO also had some announcements to make.
Qatar Airways has formally announced that they will launch daily flights between Doha and Auckland as of December 3, 2016.
Auckland, New Zealand
The flight will operate with the following schedule:
QR920 Doha to Auckland departing 2:10AM arriving 4:30AM (+1 day)
QR921 Auckland to Doha departing 2:40PM arriving 10:10PM
This route will be ~180 miles longer than Emirates’ route between Dubai and Auckland. It’s blocked at 16hr20min eastbound and 17hr30min westbound.
Qatar Airways 777-200LR
The flight will be operated by a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, featuring 42 business class seats and 217 economy class seats. As of now, Qatar Airways’ 777 business class seats are forward facing and in a 2-2-2 configuration, but apparently these planes will eventually get Qatar Airways’ new “super business class”… if/when that happens.
The flight is bookable, and award availability is wide open. Qatar Airways has released four business class award seats per flight, including during absolute peak season, in December and January. This is a fantastic way to get to Australia and New Zealand during that time period.
If you book this before American’s devaluation on March 22, a ticket will cost just 45,000 AAdvantage miles one-way between the Middle East and New Zealand, which is a heck of a deal.
On top of that, Al Baker took the opportunity to announce several new routes, which I suspect will be of varying interest.
The following new Qatar Airways routes were announced, and are already bookable:
- 1x daily Doha to Pisa flight as of August 2, 2016, operated by A320
- 3x weekly Doha to Sarajevo flight as of September 7, 2016, operated by A320
- 4x weekly Doha to Windhoek flight as of September 28, 2016, operated by 787
- 1x daily Doha to Helsinki flight as of October 10, 2016, operated by A320
- 4x weekly Doha to Krabi flight as of December 6, 2016, operated by A330
- 1x daily Doha to Seychelles flight as of December 12, 2016, operated by A320
Meanwhile the following routes have been announced, but aren’t yet bookable:
- Doha to Marrakech by July 2016
- Doha to Skopje by November 2016
- Doha to Chiang Mai by December 2016
- Doha to Doula/Liberville by January 2016
- Doha to Lusaka by Summer 2017
- Doha to Nice by Summer 2017
I’m especially excited about the flight to the Seychelles, as I’ve been wanting to visit. The flights to Chiang Mai and Krabi also seem cool. Lastly, the flight to Windhoek, Namibia, seems cool, as it’s one of the few non-African airline to fly there, as far as I know.
This represents quite some expansion on the part of Qatar Airways, and it’s especially cool to see that the Doha to Auckland route will finally be launched. Here’s to hoping their new business class product is announced soon as well, and that it’ll be available on the world’s longest flight.
Are you excited about any of Qatar Airways’ new routes?