13 FEBRUARY 2017
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Aviation fans reached for the record books last week after Qatar Airways claimed the rosette for the world’s longest commercial flight for its new service between Doha and Auckland.
The route measures 14,535km (9,032mi), the furthest distance between any two cities linked by direct flights, and has an official scheduled flight time on the return leg of 17hr 30min on Qatar’s B777-200LR.
Last week’s outbound service arrived in Auckland 15 minutes early, just after sunrise, with celebrations beginning with a traditional water salute as the aircraft taxied down the runway.
Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar Al Baker, who was on the flight, hailed the occasion as an important milestone for the airline as it expanded both in the region and globally.
“It is a momentous occasion for Qatar Airways and provides another accomplishment to celebrate in this our 20th year flying the flag internationally,” he added.
The flight has started a debate about whether “world’s longest” should be measured in time or distance. Air India connects cities separated by 13,300km (8,264mi) with its Delhi – San Francisco service but flies a route of 15,110km (9,389mi) to avoid headwinds, which gives a 14.5hr flight time.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
John Davidson, Paris, France
Seriously, who wants to fly from Doha to Auckland? Even if Qatar Airways sees itself as a "hubbing" airline through Doha, you'd have to find a lot of people who want to go to Auckland. Prestige, OK. Practicality, no. My prediction is that this service will soon meet its well-deserved end.