- Qantas currently has longest journey, offering a 16 hour and 55 minute journey from Dallas to Sydney
- Emirates is launching two flights over 17 hours, Auckland to Dubai and Dubai to Panama City starting in March
- Qatar Airways is set to introduce two routes, Doha to Auckland and Doha to Santiago, that will take 18 hours
- By 2018, Singapore Airlines is expected to run a 19-hour non-stop flight from Singapore to New York
The race is on as top airline carriers fight it out to provide the world’s longest non-stop service.
Qantas currently holds the record, offering a 16 hour and 55 minute journey from Dallas to Sydney.
However in a matter of days this will be eclipsed by Emirates when on March 1 it launches the Auckland to Dubai route. This has an estimated flight time of 17 hours and 15 minutes (approximately 8,800 miles).
But rather than this lengthy journey being a unique round-trip for long distance travellers, by 2018 passengers could be spending as long as 19 hours in the air with Singapore Airlines as it will operate an Airbus A350 on non-stop flights from Singapore to the US west coast and New York.
How the airlines are competing to get the world’s longest, non-stop fight across the globe. Singapore Airways is set to lead the way with 19 hour flights from Singapore to New York by the end of 2018
While acknowledging its 18-hour flights set to be introduced, Qatar Airways refused to be drawn on what would be next
In the short-term, Qatar Airways is set to up the bar by introducing two 18 hour routes from Doha to Auckland and Doha to Santiago, in the coming months.
However, as the first of the big aviation players to launch a super route, Dubai-based airline, Emirates is not only introducing the Auckland to Dubai route.Towards the end of next month it also hopes to launch a 17 hour and 35 minutes flight route from Dubai to Panama City.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said in a statement: ‘Having just one stop on the long haul to New Zealand will make the journey quicker and more comfortable.
‘This will be a boon to many business people, tourists, expatriate New Zealanders and other travellers in Europe, parts of Africa and the Middle East.
‘It will offer passengers a one stop link to New Zealand via Dubai for passengers from Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow, in addition to cutting journey times by almost three hours in removing the stopover in Australia.’
Emirates is pushing its way to the top of the longest non-stop flights list with two journeys well over 17 hours
EMIRATES’ AUCKLAND TO DUBAI ROUTE
The new service to be launched in March will have an estimated flight time of just under 16 hours from Dubai to New Zealand and 17 hours, 15 minutes in the other direction, cutting journey times by almost three hours each way.
With the introduction of the non-stop service, Emirates will fly more than 2,000 seats a day in each direction on New Zealand services.
The Boeing 777-200LR aircraft that will operate the new, non-stop route are purpose-built for ultra-longhaul flights, carrying up to 266 passengers. Like Emirates’ other New Zealand flights, the aircraft will offer three cabin classes: eight First Class suites, 42 lie-flat Business Class seats and 216 comfortable Economy Class seats.
He said a non-stop service between Dubai and Auckland has been in the airline’s sights for some time.
But it doesn’t look as though Emirates will stand alone for long as the carrier with the longest non-stop flights. With competition in the aviation industry being fierce, rivals are aiming to push the bar even higher.
Qatar Airways’ CEO revealed that the state-owned airline is adding two ultra-long-haul routes – Doha to Auckland and Doha to Santiago, Chile.
It will become the longest and second-longest routes with flight times of around 18 hours.
But by 2018, Singapore Airlines will take over the crown. Its route from Singapore to New York will be around 19 hours, in its newly-ordered Airbus A350-900s.
This will come about when the airline relaunch the route which ceased service in 2013, when the A340-500s that were used for the journey were retired.
‘Our customers have been asking us to re-start non-stop Singapore-US flights and we are pleased that Airbus was able to offer the right aircraft to do so in a commercially viable manner,’ said Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong.
‘This is another example of how we strive to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations by remaining at the forefront of product and service innovation in our industry. It will also further strengthen the Singapore hub by providing the fastest and most convenient air connectivity between North America and Southeast Asia.’
Until all of these flights get off the ground, the record will still be held by Qantas.
Saudia currently have a flight time of 16 hours and 40 minutes for their route from Jeddah to Los Angeles. Delta’s Johannesburg to Atlanta route is also the same length of time.
A spokesperson for Delta admitted longer routes had not yet been discussed.
‘Delta’s network is under constant analysis but we don’t have plans at this time to add additional ultra long-haul international routes,’ they said.
But if passengers are prepared to spend more time in the air, it’s important the facilities are available to them to stay healthy.
Airbus spokesman Justin Dubon told MailOnline Travel: ‘It obviously up to the airlines as customers as to what they offer the passengers on board, and how long they plan to develop these routes.
‘But if you are going to be in the air for that amount of time, you need lots of space, and facilities such as showers, bars, open areas.
‘New technology today means that aircraft can fly longer routes and importantly open up more markets. With the A380s we have seen this, that it is a great aircraft for the opening up and sucking up of new markets around the world.’
THE CURRENT LONGEST FLIGHTS IN THE WORLD
Sydney-Dallas, Qantas – 8,578 miles, 16 hours and 55 minutes
Jeddah-Los Angeles, Saudia – 8,332 miles, 16 hours and 40 minutes
Johannesburg-Atlanta, Delta Air Lines – 8,439 miles, 16 hours and 40 minutes
Dubai-Los Angeles, Emirates – 8,339 miles, 16 hours and 35 minutes
Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles, Etihad Airways – 8,390 miles, 16 hours and 30 minutes.
Doha-Los Angeles, Qatar Airways – 8,306 miles, 16 hours and 25 minutes
Dallas-Hong Kong, American Airlines – 8,123 miles, 16 hours and 20 minutes
Dubai-Houston, Emirates – 8,168 miles, 16 hours and 20 minutes
Abu Dhabi-Dallas, Etihad Airways – 8,054 miles, 16 hours and 20 minutes
Doha-Houston, Qatar Airways – 8,047 miles, 16 hours and 20 minutes.