Qatar Airways has launched its new Doha-Auckland service on one of New Zealand’s most significant days of the year – Waitangi Day. Waitangi Day commemorates the signing of an historic treaty between the British Crown and Maori chiefs on 6th February 1840.
Celebrations to commemorate the launch of the 17 hour 30 minute flight covering a distance of 14,535km, began at the airport with a traditional water salute. The airline calls the service "the world's longest flight".
The new daily flight to Auckland is served by a Boeing 777-200LR featuring a two-class configuration with 42 seats in Business Class and 217 seats in Economy Class.
The Doha-Auckland-Doha daily services will offer 116t of belly-hold capacity every week to support the growing imports of raw, industrial and consumer materials into New Zealand.
Auckland is the first new destination launch of the year for Qatar Airways. Other new destinations in 2017/18 include: Yanbu and Tabuk, Saudi Arabia; Dublin, The Republic of Ireland; Nice, France; Skopje, Macedonia; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina; Libreville, Gabon; Douala, Cameroon; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; Canberra, Australia; Medan, Indonesia; and Las Vegas, U.S.
Due to their geographical location, Gulf carriers operate a large proportion of the world’s ultra-long-range (ULR) flights, normally categorized as flights lasting more than 16 hours. Emirates launched direct Boeing 777-200LR services between Dubai and Auckland in March 2016.
Meanwhile, Qantas is offering direct 17-hour flights between Perth and London on the Boeing 787-9 as of March 2018. And Singapore Airlines plans to introduce a potentially 19-hour service between Singapore and New York in 2018 using a new ULR version of the A350-900. This will be a re-launch of the service previously operated with the A340-500, which was discontinued in 2013.