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Qatar confirms December launch for Auckland-Doha service

written by australianaviation.com.au | March 10, 2016
BOEING 777 200LR QATAR JNB JUN10 RF IMG_5428
Qatar will operate the 777-200LR to Auckland. (Rob Finlayson)

Qatar Airways has confirmed a December launch for nonstop Doha-Auckland flights, with New Zealand’s most populous city one of 14 new destinations to join the airline’s fast growing network announced overnight.

The route, at 7,848nm, will be the world’s longest nonstop passenger flight when the inaugural flight takes off on December 3 with Boeing 777-200LR equipment, eclipsing Emirates’ current Dubai-Auckland flight which clocks in at 7,668nm and began earlier in March.

The service was first mooted in January, although no firm announcement was made at the time.

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Instead, Qatar chief executive Akbar Al Bakar launched Auckland, along with the 13 other destinations across Asia, Europe and Africa at the ITB travel fair in Berlin on Wednesday (European time).

“These new destinations are where our customers want to go, and where we see the most opportunity to provide a best-in-class experience at great value. We look forward to growing our network and welcoming new passengers to Qatar Airways,” Al Baker said in a statement.

Speaking at the launch of Qatar’s Sydney service earlier in March, Al Baker said the original plan was for flights to Auckland begin in June. However, it was decided to push back the launch after Emirates began its own Dubai-Auckland flights at the start of March.

“We are not going to chicken out, we will definitely fly to Auckland but as a respect to Emirates as they have already launched a direct flight we will wait until the end of the year before we will operate,” Al Baker said on March 3.

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Among the other new destinations unveiled at the trade fair, Qatar said it was growing its presence in Thailand, with new flights to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand and popular tourist destination Krabi  in the south to start in December. Currently, the airline serves Bangkok and Phuket.

Elsewhere, Qatar will be the first of the so-called big three Gulf carriers alongside Emirates and Etihad to offer flights to Helsinki. The service, to be operated with A320 Family aircraft from October, will connect Doha to the hub of fellow oneworld alliance member Finnair.

And the oneworld member also plans new African flights to the likes of Marrakech in Morocco, Windhoek in Namibia, Libreville in Gabon.

The 14 new destinations come on top of recently commenced service to Los Angeles, Ras Al Khaimah and Sydney, with Boston, Birmingham to come online later in March. Flights to Adelaide with Airbus A350-900s and Yerevan start in May, while Qatar will fly to Atlanta from June 1.

Current longest nonstop passenger flights by distance (nautical miles)

1. Dubai-Auckland (7,668nm) – operated by Emirates with Boeing 777-200LR (Airbus A380 used for inaugural service)
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. Doha-Auckland (7,848nm) – to be operated by Qatar Airways with Boeing 777-200LR. Starts December 3
3. Singapore-Los Angeles (7,621nm) – to be operated by Singapore Airlines with Airbus A350-900ULR. From 2018
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
3. Perth-London Heathrow (7,829nm) – Qantas
4. Melbourne-Dallas/Fort Worth (7,814nm) – Qantas
5. Doha-Santiago (7,791nm) – Qatar Airways

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6 Comments

  • eric

    says:

    So why the hell do we talk about n/miles, or otherwise that nobody has a clue of instead of km? And all that nonsense to tow the American line because they can’t get their metric act together!

  • Marc

    says:

    @eric
    Perhaps read up about the significance nautical miles and knots in relation to position on earth meridians, arcs, minutes etc.

  • Ben

    says:

    Eric – I think it’s due to nautical miles being the standard unit of measuring distance in aviation. It makes sense due to all airspeed being measured in knots rather than kmph. 1 knot is one nautical mile per hour. Also when communicating and using distance for GPS and DME etc it is also done in nautical miles. I am used to metric as well and I’m not a pilot but I do a fair bit of flight simming so I’m familiar with knots and nautical miles. It’s not that difficult to get used to. There are online sites you can use to convert distance/speed etc or use sites such as great circle mapper.

    Back to the article – I think its interesting that QR and EK are servicing Auckland direct and also that a big middle eastern carrier is now serving Helsinki. Between them the three middle Eastern carriers seem to have just about every major destination in Europe sewn up. I think maybe Belfast and Keflavik are the only major/capital cities that they don’t serve in Europe. Interesting to see if they look at nonstop services to other Australian or pacific destinations to the middle east (Cairns, Darwin, Nadi, Port Moresby and Noumea could all probably be reached now it just depends on demand) Hobart might happen in the long term if the runway is extended and strengthened.

  • Dave

    says:

    eric, because that is aviation standard. The same as we talk about height in feet and not KM.
    Not because we are conforming, but because that is the standard in the aviation industry

  • PeterL

    says:

    Eric, nm is the measurement for distance used internationally by the aviation industry, that is why they have used it. Metric system has nothing to do with it.

  • steve

    says:

    Knots are basically 2kmph and naughty miles two km….. easy old maths

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