Qatar Airways 17.5-hour flight is world's longest

By Allen Cone  |  Feb. 6, 2017 at 3:48 PM
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Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Qatar Airways can claim the world record for the longest regularly scheduled airline flight: 17 hours, 7 minutes.

The airline's Boeing 777 traveled 9,032 miles from Auckland, New Zealand, to its hub in Doha, Qatar, arriving at 10:07 p.m. Monday, according to a Flighttrader24. Hours earlier, without headwinds, it traveled from Doha to Auckland in 16 hours, 10 minutes, according to the airline.

The previous record was set by Middle East rival Emirates, whose plane flew 8,819 miles from its hub in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Auckland.

The Qatar Airways flights used four rotating pilots. During the initial flight, 15 crew members served 1,100 cups of tea and coffee, 2,000 cold drinks, and 1,036 meals, according to the Independent.

The plane landed at 7:25 a.m. and was showered by water cannons -- a tradition for welcoming inaugural flights. Hours later it made the return flight.

The plane has two classes, with 42 seats in Business Class and 217 in Economy Class.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, who traveled on the inaugural flight, said in a statement: "Arriving in Auckland on Waitangi Day, and achieving the title of world's longest flight for the return record-breaking service ... makes this an even more momentous occasion for Qatar Airways and provides another accomplishment to celebrate in this our 20th year flying the flag internationally for Qatar."

Waitangi Day celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document, on Feb. 6, 1840.

Qatar Airways, which added Auckland this year, flies to more than 150 destinations.

Singapore Airlines plans to launch nonstop service connecting Singapore to New York in 2018, with the Airbus' new A350 wide-body plane flying more than 9,500 miles.

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