DUBAI Feb 5 Qatar Airways launched its first
service to Auckland, New Zealand on Sunday with the return leg
set to be the longest scheduled commercial flight by flying
time, according to the airline's website.
Flight QR920 departed Doha's Hamed International Airport, a
spokeswoman confirmed, and was scheduled to arrive in Auckland
on Monday at 0730 local time (1830 GMT).
The flight was expected to take 16 hours and 20 minutes and
the return service, taking 17 hours and 30 minutes, would be the
world's longest, according to flight tracking website
Qatar Airways is using a Boeing 777 on the 14,534
kilometre (9,031 mile) flight, its first service to New Zealand,
it said. Improvements in technology over the last decade have
allowed more efficient fuel use, encouraging longer flights.
The previous record for the world's longest scheduled flight
by flying time was held by fellow Gulf carrier Emirates
, which launched direct flights to Auckland from Dubai
in March 2016.
Air India has a longer flight by distance, spanning
15,298 kilometres from Delhi to San Francisco; this takes 14
hours and 30 minutes, according to the Times of India.
Singapore Airlines may regain the top spot when it
resumes non-stop flights to New York with an ultra-long distance
variant of the Airbus A350 as soon as 2018. It has said the New
York service, at around 19 hours, will start in 2018.
(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; editing by Andrew Torchia and