Emirates has claimed the title of the world’s longest passenger flight from alliance partner Qantas after its nonstop Dubai-Auckland service touched down in New Zealand on Wednesday morning.
Flight EK448, operated by Airbus A380 A6-EON, landed just before 1000 local time – after a 14 hour and 40 minute journey – and was met with a water cannon salute on its way to the terminal.
The use of the A380 is a one-off to celebrate the inaugural service, with Emirates to ordinarily deploy the Boeing 777-200LR for the 7,668nm route.
AviationNLNZ posted a video of the Emirates’ A380 arrival at Auckland on Youtube, which can be seen below:
The reciprocal flight, EK449, is scheduled to depart Auckland at 2130 local time.
Emirates said prior to the start of the Dubai-Auckland route it has worked with air traffic controllers, including Airservices and Airways New Zealand, on flexible route options, meaning the actual flight path can change depending on conditions, in an effort to minimise flight times and reduce fuel consumption.
The majority of the Dubai-Auckland flight will be in Australian-controlled airspace, Emirates said, adding it had worked with Airservices on flexible route options on its Australian-bound flights for the past decade.
“The organised track system – AUSOTS – is well-proven and extending that program so that it is specific to the Auckland-Dubai route will have significant benefits, without impacting the operations of other aircraft going to Australia,” Emirates vice president for flight operations support services and air traffic management Geoff Hounsell said in a statement on February 23.
Airservices executive general manager for air traffic control Greg Hood said the use of Flex Tracks and user preferred route (UPR) zones helped Emirates find the most optimal routes.
“Airservices Flex Track and UPRs will help Emirates realise significant savings in fuel, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the flight time with seasonal and daily variations based on the positioning of jet stream winds,” he said.
Airways New Zealand chief operating officer Pauline Lamb added: “Emirates will benefit from Airways’ capability to offer new fuel-efficient arrival routes into Auckland and a high degree of flexibility using very efficient ‘user-preferred routing’, including the ability to review and change flight paths during the flight.”
The Dubai-Auckland route eclipses Qantas’s Airbus A380 route between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth, which clocks in at 7,454nm according to the Great Circle Mapper and previously held the title of world’s longest passenger flight.
Current longest nonstop passenger flights by distance (nautical miles)
1. Dubai-Auckland (7,668nm) – to be operated by Emirates with Boeing 777-200LR (inaugural Airbus A380)
2. Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth (7,454nm) – operated by Qantas with Airbus A380
3. Atlanta-Johannesburg (7,333nm) – operated by Delta with Boeing 777-200LR
4. Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles (7,291nm) – operated by Etihad with Boeing 777-200LR
5. Dubai-Los Angeles (7,246nm) – operated by Emirates with Airbus A380
6. Jeddah-Los Angeles (7,240nm) – operated by Saudia with Boeing 777-300ER
Confirmed future routes
1. Singapore-New York (Newark*) (8,285nm)– to be operated by Singapore Airlines with Airbus A350-900ULR. From 2018. (*Airport choice not confirmed)
2. Singapore-Los Angeles (7,621nm) – to be operated by Singapore Airlines with Airbus A350-900ULR. From 2018
3. Dubai-Panama City (7,463nm) – to be operated by Emirates with Boeing 777-200LR. Starts March 31
4. San Francisco-Singapore (7,339nm) – to be operated by United with Boeing 787-9. Starts June 1
Speculated future routes
1. Sydney-New York (JFK) (8,646nm) – Qantas
2. Sydney-Chicago (ORD) (8,022nm) – Qantas
2. Doha-Auckland (7,848nm) – Qatar Airways
3. Perth-London Heathrow (7,829nm) – Qantas
4. Melbourne-Dallas/Fort Worth (7,814nm) – Qantas
5. Doha-Santiago (7,791nm) – Qatar Airways
The start of Emirates’ nonstop flight to Auckland will shortly be followed by the arrival of another new service from the Middle East to Oceania, with Qatar Airways’ Doha-Sydney inaugural, QR908, scheduled to touch down in Sydney at about 1800 local time.