Emirates will operate the world’s longest passenger flight from March when it begins nonstop service to Auckland from its Dubai hub with a Boeing 777-200LR.
The Dubai-Auckland route measures 7,668 nautical miles, according to the Great Circle Mapper, eclipsing Qantas’s Airbus A380 route between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth at 7,454nm which currently holds the record as the longest nonstop passenger flight.
Emirates Airline and Group chairman and chief executive His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said having nonstop flights to NZ was something the airline had been considering for a while.
“Operating a non-stop service between Dubai and Auckland has been in our sights for some time, dependent on availability of suitable aircraft as we rapidly expand our global network of destinations, and frequency of flights and capacity on existing routes. We are particularly delighted that we can now bring this exciting plan to fruition,” Al Maktoum said in a statement on Thursday (Dubai time).
The new Dubai-Auckland flights, which take off from March 1, was expected to cut travel times to NZ by about three hours, Emirates said.
Currently, Emirates has three flights a day to Auckland via Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney with Airbus A380s, as well as a daily flight between Christchurch and Sydney with a Boeing 777-300ER.
Emirates’ NZ services are operated in cooperation with global alliance partner Qantas. Further, passengers will be able to connect onto Jetstar-operated domestic flights from Auckland.
Al Maktoum said offering nonstop flights to Auckland would be a “boon to many business people, tourists, expatriate New Zealanders and other travellers in Europe, parts of Africa and the Middle East”.
“Tourists, in particular, will now have more options – travelling to Auckland with a stopover in Australia on one of our three daily A380s, flying nonstop direct into Auckland, or flying to the South Island on our daily Christchurch service,” Al Maktoum said.
“New Zealand currently hosts about three million tourists a year and we want to do our part to cater for that flow and grow that figure above current expectations.
“Auckland as the major gateway is now a thriving and attractive city of 1.5 million and, together with tourism and business traffic, we are sure that it will easily sustain the introduction of the extra flight.”
Emirates is the first of the Middle East carriers to launch nonstop flights to NZ. However Qatar Airways may not be far behind, with Bloomberg reporting on January 22 the oneworld alliance member was also planning to operate nonstop to Auckland from its Doha hub.
Etihad serves NZ through its alliance with Virgin Australia.
Emirates new Auckland flights
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Current longest nonstop passenger flights by distance (nautical miles)
1. Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth (7,454nm) – operated by Qantas with Airbus A380
2. Atlanta-Johannesburg (7,333nm) – operated by Delta with Boeing 777-200LR
3. Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles (7,291nm) – operated by Etihad with Boeing 777-200LR
4. Dubai-Los Angeles (7,246nm) – operated by Emirates with Airbus A380
5. 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. Dubai-Auckland (7,668nm) – to be operated by Emirates with Boeing 777-200LR. Starts March 1
3. Singapore-Los Angeles (7,621nm) – to be operated by Singapore Airlines with Airbus A350-900ULR. From 2018
4. Dubai-Panama City (7,463nm) – to be operated by Emirates with Boeing 777-200LR. Starts March 31
Speculated future routes
1. Sydney-New York(JFK) (8,646nm) – 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