And the new Longest Route in the World is. . .

Qatar Airways made the announcement official today: It will launch service from Doha to Auckland later this year, seizing the crown of World’s Longest Flight by 208 miles from Emirates which only took the lead earlier this month when it launched service to New Zealand’s largest city. Details of the new route – and 13 others – were made public at the 2016 ITB conference in Berlin.

Auckland-Doha will be the world’s longest flight when Qatar Airways begins service on 3 December 2016
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

The ultra long haul route will connect passengers to scores of destinations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, mostly with conveniently timed flights through its hub in Doha. North and South America are options, too, though much more the long way around for those destinations than crossing the Pacific.

The other destinations announced today include:

  • Pisa, Italy starting on 2 August with daily non-stop A320-family service
  • Sarajevo (Bosnia) will start on 7 September, with three flights per week on A320-family aircraft
  • Daily non-stop flights from Doha to Helsinki (Finland) will start on 10 October on A320-family aircraft
  • Three times weekly service between Doha and Skopje (Macedonia) in November on A320-family aircraft
  • Nice (France) by summer 2017, with five flights per week with wide-body aircraft
  • Marrakech (Morocco) will begin in July, three times per week on the airline’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft
  • Four flights per week between Doha and Windhoek (Namibia) will begin on 28 September
  • Daily scheduled service to the Seychelles will resume on 12 December
  • Douala (Cameroon) and Libreville (Gabon) utilising one aircraft three times weekly starting in January
  • Doha to Lusaka (Zambia) three times weekly will begin by summer 2017
  • Four flights per week to Krabi (Thailand) on 6 December and three flights per week to Chiang Mai (Thailand) in December

That’s a lot of less than daily service and a decent number of routes on smaller aircraft flying up to six hour stage lengths. But that’s also the way Qatar Airways is growing – slightly more measured than the big boys across the way.

As for operating the world’s longest flight, it is unclear exactly what the value proposition of that is save for bragging rights. Or pushing an extra couple hundred people through the company’s ever growing route network each day. And Qatar Airways seems to be keen on both of those plays more than not.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.